Alibaba fires female employee who accused supervisor of rape

Chinese tech giant Alibaba has fired a female employee who accused a supervisor of sexual abuse earlier this year, accusing her of spreading false and damaging information.

The woman, who was publicly identified as Zhou, was dismissed from the company on Nov. 25, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. She had accused her then-supervisor, Wang Chengwe, of molestation and rape during a business trip.

Zhou’s dismissal was reportedly the result of her violating internal company policies by spreading false information about a company executive. She also claimed the company was aware of the situation but did nothing, the Journal added. 

Zhou has said she was pressured to drink until she was nearly unconscious and later woke to her then-supervisor kissing and groping her in a hotel room. Alibaba, which fired Wang, said it investigated the matter internally and was also cooperating with police. Other employees were also fired or resigned in connection with the incident, the Journal reported.  

Alibaba said it attempted to work with Zhou to pay legal and counseling fees and negotiate her departure from the company, but Zhou did not accept the terms of those offers. Zhou, however, said she was regularly in communication with employees from the company, including talks about her requesting an extended leave of absence due to depression she experienced following the incident, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities determined that Wang’s actions did not rise to the level of a crime, so Zhou’s case was dropped in September, the Journal added.

“I hope that one day, people will no longer hurl insults and abuse at victims when this society confronts sexual-assault cases, and that there will be more care and concern,” Zhou said, per the Journal.

While Zhou’s case was widely discussed on social media, it contrasts the case of Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis player who disappeared from public view after she said on social media that Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese vice premier, had allegedly coerced her into sex. Her post about her abuse has since been deleted, and discussion of the case has been censored in China. 

The Hill has reached out to Alibaba for comment.


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