Chinese authorities have jailed a journalist for two years for posting articles that were critical of Chinese society and called for democratic reforms on the internet, a media watchdog group has said.

Li Yuanlong, a journalist for a daily newspaper in Bijie in southwestern Guizhou province, was sentenced to two years in prison and loss of his civil rights for a further two years for posting "subversive" articles on the internet, Reporters Without Borders said. Li's trial was held in May and the verdict was announced on Thursday.

Li posted several articles online that were critical of modern Chinese society and called for greater freedom and democracy, Reporters Without Borders said. Two of his articles, entitled “Becoming American in Spirit” and “The Banal Nature of Life and the Lamentable Nature of Death,” angered officials, it said.

Li was arrested in September 2005, but he was not charged until February of this year.

To get a written confession from Li, Chinese authorities "kidnapped his wife and held her in a hotel room for 10 days and detained his 16-year-old son for a week," Reporters Without Borders said. That account could not be independently verified.

In February, Reporters Without Borders estimated that 49 dissidents and 32 journalists were serving prison sentences in China on charges that stem from internet articles and online criticism of Chinese authorities.

That tally includes the high-profile case of Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist jailed for ten years on subversion charges.