Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

Li Chengpeng

Age: 42
Occupation: Blogger, independent political candidate

A charismatic novelist, irreverent social critic and one of China's biggest online personalities, Li announced in May 2011 that he would seek office in the southwestern city of Chengdu as an independent candidate — unheard of in a country where the Community Party controls what little participatory democracy there is. By June, a hundred others had followed Li's lead. While his campaign has been hamstrung by local officials and nosy censors, he remains defiant. "We are all shareholders of our country," he says.