The artist Ai Weiwei has extensively criticized the unlawful use of governmental power over Chinese citizens, and the poor handling of the Sichuan earthquake devastation in 2008. Spotlighted in a New York Times' article, as well as many party announcements, Ai Weiwei has reached a large number of Chinese people through both his star power (he is most publicly know for helping design the Beijing's Bird's Nest) Internet publications such Ai Weiwei's blog (English translation) are becoming of increasing importance in not only China but also the world.
His sculpture and performance art maintains a keen sense of the current cultural pulse of China, and he remains to be extremely influence to young Chinese artist as well.
I have to admit. I think Ai Weiwei is a really inspiring figure to me as an artist.