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Alibaba fires manager accused of sexual assault; CEO calls for change


The entrance of Alibaba’s Wangjing workplace in Beijing on Dec. 24, 2020.

Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Photographs

GUANGZHOU, China — Alibaba has fired a supervisor accused of sexual assault and disciplined different staff because the Chinese language e-commerce big appears to be like to restrict reputational harm.

Over the weekend, a feminine worker wrote a publish on Alibaba’s intranet accusing her supervisor Wang Chengwen and an organization consumer of sexual assault. The allegations went viral when the publish was later shared on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

The lady alleges that Wang pressured her to drink excessively throughout a enterprise dinner in Jinan one night in late July. She mentioned she wakened the following morning bare in her mattress in her lodge room. The worker mentioned she vaguely remembers Wang kissing and touching her the evening earlier than in her room.

The supervisor admitted to “intimate acts” with an inebriated feminine worker, in keeping with a letter despatched to staff by Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang. The memo added the fired supervisor will “by no means be rehired.”

“Whether or not he has dedicated rape or indecency that violates the legislation will likely be decided by legislation enforcement,” the memo mentioned.

Whereas police in Jinan are nonetheless investigating the incident, Alibaba mentioned it determined to penalize the supervisor and different staffers after it “gained readability on some vital info on the dealing with of the incident.”

The feminine worker mentioned she reported the incident to Alibaba and requested for Wang to be fired, however noticed no fast motion taken.

Alibaba mentioned two staff have resigned: Li Yonghe, the pinnacle of a enterprise unit that features Alibaba’s meals supply enterprise, alongside the division’s human assets chief Xu Kun.

“When the worker reported a horrendous act comparable to rape, they didn’t make well timed choices nor took applicable motion,” Zhang mentioned within the memo.

Alibaba Chief Folks Officer Judy Tong will likely be given a demerit. Zhang criticized HR, saying they “didn’t pay sufficient consideration and care to our individuals.”

“On the similar time, an emergency response system was absent, and a extreme misjudgment was made. Within the occasion of a legal investigation, they did not droop the related events. This means an issue in our tradition and capability constructing. Given this systemic downside, the management should be held accountable,” he mentioned.

A spokesperson for the corporate mentioned in an announcement “Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance coverage in opposition to sexual misconduct, and making certain a protected office for all our staff is Alibaba’s prime precedence.”

Zhang known as the incident “shameful” and mentioned the corporate should “rebuild” and “change.”

The CEO mentioned Alibaba will now conduct company-wide coaching on the safety of worker rights, together with anti-sexual harassment. The corporate can even “expedite the formation of an anti-sexual harassment coverage.”

Whereas police are nonetheless investigating the incident, Zhang mentioned the corporate is “staunchly against the ugly pressured consuming tradition.”

“No matter gender, whether or not it’s a request made by a buyer or a supervisor, our staff are empowered to reject it,” he wrote within the memo.

Alibaba shares in Hong Kong had been down 2.5% in afternoon commerce because the information piled extra stress onto an organization which remains to be below regulatory scrutiny after a $2.8 billion antitrust fine earlier this year.

China’s MeToo motion has not taken off prefer it has within the U.S. and different components of the world. But it surely has begun to assemble steam extra just lately after Chinese language-Canadian pop star Kris Wu was accused of rape and detained by police in Beijing. He has denied the allegations.



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