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Case Dropped Against Former Alibaba Employee Accused of Sex Assault

Attacker had been responsible for ‘forcible indecency’ but had not committed a crime, court says of alleged sex attack by two men on female employee during a business trip


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The pick-up in Chinese convertible bond issuance is giving dealmakers hope that capital market activity will start to lift, especially in Hong Kong, where IPOs are at the lowest point in 15 years. Alibaba raised $5 billion in May. This image shows its head office in Beijing (Reuters).

 

Chinese prosecutors have dropped a case against a former Alibaba Group Holding employee accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague, saying they had determined he had committed forcible indecency but not a crime.

The employee, identified by his surname Wang, was detained by police last month after a female Alibaba employee posted an 11-page account on Alibaba’s intranet saying a manager and a client sexually assaulted her during a business trip to eastern China’s Jinan city.

She said superiors and human resources officials did not take her report seriously, triggering a fierce public backlash against the e-commerce giant, which later fired Wang and suspended other executives.

Prosecutors, however, have approved the arrest of the client who has been identified by his surname Zhang.

Unconscious

Jinan police have accused both men of committing acts of forcible indecency but have not provided details of the acts. The female employee in her account said she was mostly unconscious during the incident and woke up with her clothes removed.

Wang and Zhang were unavailable to give comment. Alibaba said in response to the decision by prosecutors that it has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. Jinan Hualian Supermarket, Zhang’s former employer, did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Chinese law says those using violence or coercion to act indecently against others can be sentenced to as much as five years in prison but does not define an indecent act.

Since first surfacing in August, the female Alibaba employee’s allegations have triggered much online discussion about sexual harassment in China, as well as the country’s culture of heavy drinking during business meetings.

Alibaba dismissed 10 employees for sharing screen shots of the female colleague’s account of sexual assault allegations, according to a report last month that cited people familiar with the matter.

  • Reuters

 

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Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.

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