Chinese Authorities Drop Sexual Assault Charges Against Ex-Alibaba Employee

Chinese authorities at the northern city of Jinan on Tuesday dropped all sexual assault charges against a former manager of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings Limited (BABA). The sexual assault charges had been filed against him by a subordinate and the case had sent shock-waves in the Chinese technology field.

The female employee had alleged that she was sexually exploited by her supervisor, the accused, and a client during a business trip in July. In an eleven-page account, published on the company's intranet page, she also claimed that the managers have played down her complaint.

In a statement released on Weibo, Jinan prosecutors said that they did not agree with the manager's arrest and he would be released. The manager, named Wang, had already served a 15-day administrative detention.

Media reports said that prosecutors were looking into the matter to bring "forcibly indecency" charges against Wang. This charge includes sexual assault but does not constitute rape, reports added.

According to state-run CCTV, prosecutors did not find anything criminal in Wang's behavior and so had arrested him for an administrative penalty of just "indecency".

When news of the Monday ruling spread, there was huge backlash from women on social media, thus once again igniting the debate about the safety of Chinese female workers in office spaces and factories. Many online users on Weibo criticized the police inaction and expressed anger about the poor condition of women safety.

Commenting on Tuesday's developments, the company issued a statement, "Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees is Alibaba's top priority."

After the female employee made the allegations, two supervisors, who allegedly tried to water down the importance of the event were also forced to resign. The Chief Human Resource Officer Judy Tong and thirteen other executives of the company were also demerited by the company following the act.

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