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Alibaba says working with China police on sex assault allegation

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(Photo by Noel CELIS / AFP)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said on Sunday that it was cooperating with a police investigation into sexual assault allegations aired by a company employee.

A statement by Alibaba said the company also had suspended “relevant parties suspected of violating our policies and values,” asserting that it had a “zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.”

An unidentified female employee made the allegations in a lengthy internal posting quoted by Chinese media, which AFP is unable to verify.

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She accused her manager and a client of sexual assault during a work trip to the city of Jinan in Shandong province, according to media reports.

A hashtag for the allegation was among the top-viewed items on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Sunday.

Sexual misconduct has garnered increasing attention in China especially since the country’s own #MeToo movement was sparked by Chinese feminists in 2018.

In one of the biggest cases so far, Beijing police earlier this month said Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu had been detained on suspicion of rape.

Wu had been accused by a 19-year-old student of date-raping her when she was 17, drawing widespread condemnation of the singer on Chinese social media and leading to several luxury brands dropping deals with him.

Alibaba had already been under scrutiny from the government, which has launched a broad campaign to rein in the growing clout of the country’s tech giants.

Regulators in April hit Alibaba with a record $2.78 billion fine over practices deemed to be an abuse of its dominant market position.

State media on Sunday quoted an internal memo reportedly posted by Alibaba chief executive officer Daniel Zhang, saying he was “shocked, furious, and ashamed” about the misconduct case.

Jinan police said they were investigating an alleged rape case involving a female Alibaba employee, according to a statement issued on Weibo that gave no other details.

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