The chief executive officer of Alibaba, Daniel Zhang said he was “shocked, angry and ashamed” about the incident.
On Sunday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said it cooperates with the police investigation into sexual assault allegations.
A statement by Alibaba said the company has suspended “relevant parties suspected of violating our policies and values,” following an employee’s allegations on the company’s intranet that her boss and a client sexually assaulted her.
The company stated that it has a “zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.”
The woman’s statement, published by a pdf, said her boss had raped her while unconscious at a business night with clients on July 27 in Jinan.
The client kissed her after consuming alcohol. She added that she woke up undressed and blacked out the following day.
After filing a police report, she later checked the CCTV footage outside her hotel room, showing her boss entering her four times.
She mentioned that she initially reported the incident to the management.
Still, the company took no strict action against her boss under the false pretext that “they were considering my reputation.”
Women Fighting biases in a political environment
The piece has circulated extensively on the Chinese social media platform Weibo; it is the latest #MeToo moment, sparking online outrage.
Sexual misconduct got attention in China, especially since Chinese feminists stepped forward in 2018, alleging several professors to resign.
In a country where Chinese feminists fight biases in a political atmosphere, the ruling Communist Party regulates the Internet, media and independent activism.
The fight isn’t easy.
In December 2018, the Supreme Court added sexual harassment to the list of “causes of action,” making it easier for #MeToo victims to seek help.
Yet, China still lacks strong laws against sexual harassment.
Many women stated that it’s not easy to file complaints as they lack video evidence, which is often necessary by the officials due to which they need to seek help online.
Several times these lawsuits lead to the defamation case, trolling and victim-blaming.
In her statement, the woman further mentioned that her boss said, “Look how good I am to you, I brought you a beauty,” in front of their clients on their trip to Jinan.
Several people online criticized China’s culture of discussing business over drinks.
Some expressed their concern for the underlying sexism that has been a significant concern in China, which extensively portrays working women as “too strong” and promotes the conventional domestic role.
Alibaba has been already under the government’s eye. It has been accused several times of its sexist recruitment ads, which posted a series of pictures of female employees as “late-night benefits,” or boasting that there are ‘beautiful girls’ or ‘goddesses’ working for the companies.
Sexual Objectification is common in Chinese Ad recruitments. Women are often unnecessarily judged based on a certain height, weight, voice, or facial type, which aren’t relevant to the job.
In the #MeToo movement, Kris Wu, a famous Canadian Chinese singer, was detained by the police after an 18-year-old student in Beijing accused him of inducing several young women into sex.
Mr Wu was the most renowned figure in China to face #MeToo charges.
The singer’s widespread backlash on Chinese social media ultimately led to multiple luxury brands cancelling their deals with him.
“We must rebuild, and we must change.”
“It is not just Human Resources who should apologize.
The related business department managers also hold responsibility and should apologize for their silence and failure to respond in a timely manner,” In a post on Alibaba’s intranet, Mr Zhang said.
He further added, “Change is only possible if everyone takes individual action, but it must start at the top. It starts with me.”