BEIJING – Chinese prosecutors have dropped a case against a former Alibaba executive who was accused of sexual assault by a female colleague, weeks after the case sparked a backlash against the e-commerce company over handling allegations of sexual misconduct.
Police arrested the former manager, surnamed Wang, in August after an Alibaba employee accused him of sexual assault while on a business trip to the north Chinese city of Jinan.
The woman accused Wang of turning a blind eye when she was molested and molested with alcohol during a dinner with a customer. She said Wang later went into her hotel room and then sexually abused her while she was drunk.
The Jinan Procuratorate did not approve Wang’s arrest and instead received a 15-day prison term, according to a statement the Jinan Police posted on Weibo social media site late Monday night.
The move met with widespread criticism on the Internet, with many complaining about the lack of protection of women in cases of sexual assault. Some said Wang’s 15-day detention indicated that he was not entirely innocent.
On Weibo, Wang’s wife thanked his legal team in a post early Tuesday. She previously accused the employee of having accused her husband of sexual misconduct. Wang was unavailable for comment.
Wang was fired from his job after the woman posted an 8,000-word essay of the allegations in an internal post on the company’s intranet and said Alibaba’s Human Resources department ignored her complaints.
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Alibaba also asked two executives to resign over handling the case. Alibaba boss Daniel Zhang promised to introduce a policy against sexual harassment with “zero tolerance” for sexual misconduct.
“The Alibaba Group has a zero tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe job for all of our employees is a top priority for Alibaba,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
The global #MeToo movement against sexual harassment has grown in prominence in China in recent years, with allegations made against several academics, a television presenter, and celebrities. But convictions are few and far between.
In a recent high-profile case, celebrity Kris Wu was arrested in Beijing on suspicion of rape after a Chinese influencer accused him of forcing girls to drink and then sexually assaulting them.