A statement by Jinan police on August 14 revealed that after investigating an Alibaba Group employee’s sexual assault allegation against her boss, they didn’t find evidence of rape. At present, the case is undergoing further scrutiny.
Alibaba fired the accused manager last week after allegations that a female employee was raped by her boss while on a business trip went viral on Chinese social media. The criminal suspects, Mr. Wang and Mr. Zhang, have been probed by Jinan Police for suspected ‘forced indecency’.
According to the police, the victim named Ms. Zhou attended a dinner with her manager, surnamed Wang, along with colleagues and clients in the northern Chinese of Jinan. The supervisor and a co-worker then escorted Ms. Zhou back to her hotel after a bout of heavy drinking. However, she was too intoxicated to state her room number, so the manager provided the front desk with her ID card and a room key.
During the following investigation, Jinan police confirmed that the manager later had another room key made, entering Ms. Zhou’s hotel room four times throughout the course of the night. Mr. Wang is suspected of forcible indecency upon his second time entering the room.
Mr. Zhang entered the victim’s room at 7:59 a.m. the following morning, and again was suspected of forcible indecency. He left at 9:35 a.m., taking her underwear but leaving a package of unopened condoms, the statement said.
The police report not only responded to Zhou’s post, but also confirmed the account of a nearby Hualian supermarket and the hotel. The indecency previously denied by a Hualian employee was later proven to be true.
Authorities have since adopted various means to rectify the incident, such as discouraging required travel on business trips and forced drinking practices.
The case has triggered discussion among many netizens about Chinese women being forced to drink alcohol in various work-related settings.
Alibaba has moved to establish better protections for its employees even as the investigation continues. It has created a hotline and a team called “ALI-WE” dedicated to investigating sexual harassment complaints, and plans to release findings from the company’s own internal inquiry soon.