April 20, 2011 / 2:49 PM / 8 years ago

Detained artist Ai offered Berlin university post

Artists and activists carry portraits of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, urging for his release, outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong April 17, 2011. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

BERLIN (Reuters) - Detained Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei has been offered a visiting teaching post at the Berlin University of the Arts, the university said on Wednesday. The prominent artist and critic of China’s ruling Communist Party was stopped from boarding a flight to Hong Kong from Beijing on April 3 and detained by border police.

His detention has sparked criticism from Western governments over the treatment of rights activists.

Chinese police said the 53-year-old Ai was under investigation for “suspected economic crimes” and reports from government-controlled media alleged he avoided taxes.

The university’s offer had been in the works since December. Last month the artist said he planned to open a studio in Berlin as his European base.

His work “Sunflower Seeds,” an installation of millions of handmade porcelain seeds, is currently on show at Britain’s Tate Modern museum. A 100 kg pile of the porcelain seeds fetched 349,250 pounds ($570,800) at auction in London in February.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Michel Rose and Sophie Hares

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