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An executive of Chinese online retailer Alibaba has been accused of sexual assault by a colleague, and the company’s reputation has been hit again during the regulatory crackdown on the country’s technology group.
On Friday evening, an Alibaba employee posted an account on the company’s internal message board, stating that an executive of the group’s online grocery platform Taoxianda sexually assaulted her during a business trip last month.
The woman wrote that she was forced to drink at a company banquet, was groped by a guest at the dinner, and then sexually assaulted by an executive in her hotel room.
According to the account, security camera footage showed that the executive came to her room four times. “I was lying in bed and could not move. I was crying and he kept kissing and touching me,” the employee wrote.
She also accused Alibaba for not responding to her request for investigation initially.
On Sunday, outrage over these allegations flooded social media, accusing Alibaba of failing to protect female employees from improper teasing and sexual harassment by male colleagues.
Alibaba CEO Zhang Yong said in a statement to employees on Sunday that he was “shocked, angry and ashamed” when he heard the incident. He promised to share the results of the internal investigation with all Alibaba employees.
Police in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan, where the incident allegedly occurred, said they have launched an investigation. The executive did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Alibaba and most of China’s technology industry are in Strengthen review Everything from workplace culture and employee welfare to data security and anti-monopoly law violations has received the attention of the Chinese Communist Party.
Alibaba’s high-profile founder Jack Ma has almost disappeared from public view since the end of 2020, when Chinese President Xi Jinping suddenly intervened and cancelled the blockbuster public offering of Jack Ma’s payment and lending business, Ant Group.
Alibaba told the state-run Global Times that the executive has been suspended. The company told the newspaper that the company does not tolerate sexual misconduct and has set up an internal team to assist police investigations.
A few weeks after the Alibaba scandal broke out, Beijing police announced the arrest of pop star and Canadian citizen Wu Yifan, suspected of raping him for alleged sexual misconduct online by several women.
Two high-profile cases triggered China #MeToo Movement, Despite online censorship due to government concerns about feminist radicalism, the momentum has been strong in recent years.