Ai Weiwei has accepted a position as visiting lecturer at the Berlin University of Arts. The conditions of his release, however, forbid travel outside Beijing for a one-year period, and it is therefore unclear whether or when he will be able to start (see update below). From The New York Times:
He said he was concerned about how the Chinese authorities would react to the offer because “it shows strong support for my moral position.” […]
On Wednesday, he said that the lecturing position in Berlin had been in the works for some time, “but I never really made my mind up” until recently. He said that he had not discussed the post with the Chinese government or sought permission to travel abroad.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to stop me” from leaving China to teach, he said, “but it’s really unpredictable.”
In a telephone interview on Wednesday evening, Mr. Ai said he did not know whether the government would allow him to return should he leave. “I have no idea. I cannot predict,” he said. “I think that would be a tragedy.”
The Associated Press reports developments in Ai’s battle against tax evasion charges, which authorities claimed were the reason for his detention.
Tax officials visited Ai’s studio late last month to say his design company Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. owed $770,000 in back taxes from the last decade and $1.1 million in fines.
Company lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said Wednesday that the firm wanted the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau to provide proof of the alleged tax evasion and to return the company’s financial records seized during Ai’s detention.
“Whether there are unpaid taxes or not requires the support of evidence in terms of facts regarding transactions and profits. We must first be clear about this question. But
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