Chinese artist and government critic Ai Weiwei has accepted an offer to join the Berlin University of the Arts as a visiting lecturer, the German university has announced.
It is unclear when the outspoken artist will be able to take up his new position because of his legal situation in China.
Ai has been barred from travel outside Beijing for a year and from speaking publicly, under the terms of his release from prison on June 22. He had spent nearly three months in jail in a secret location.
Hearing on Thursday
Ai will appear at a hearing with Beijing tax adjudicators on Thursday over charges he attempted to evade taxes and destroyed financial records.
His lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, will challenge the $1.8-million tax bill authorities delivered to Ai after his release. Officials visited Ai's studio in late June and claimed his design company Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. owed $770,000 in back taxes from the past decade and $1.1 million in fines.
Pu said he would demand proof of the alleged tax evasion from the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau on Thursday.
"Whether there are unpaid taxes or not, [it] requires the support of evidence in terms of facts regarding transactions and profits. We must first be clear about this question. But we haven't seen the specific proof and don't know where the financial records are now," Pu told the Associated Press.
Requests open hearing
He also called for Thursday's hearing be made open to the public. Ai may not be permitted to attend because only three people from his firm were allowed to be present — his wife, who is the legal representative of the company, a lawyer and an accountant.
The artist's family has denied Ai evaded taxes and said his arrest was a way of silencing him at a time when the Chinese government was cracking down on dissidents.
Berlin University first released news of the job offer following Ai's arrest on tax fraud charges in April.
University president Martin Rennert said he hopes Ai will be able to take up the offer "in the near future."
Ai's outdoor installation inspired by Chinese zodiac sculptures opened in London while he was still in detention.
He is also known for helping design China's Bird's Nest stadium, for his Sunflower Seeds exhibit at London's Tate Modern, for his photography and for his chronicle of each child killed in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.