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Alibaba suspends staff, launches probe into sexual assault charges

SNS | Shanghai |

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it was working with police on an investigation following allegations by a female employee that she was sexually assaulted by her boss and a client.

The company has suspended several staff.

The woman’s harrowing account published in an 11-page PDF was widely circulated online, triggering a social media clamour on China’s Twitter-like website Weibo. Reponses to her account figured among the top-trending list on Weibo as of Sunday morning.

Police in the city of Jinan said on Sunday morning said that they were investigating the incident.

The victim alleged that the incident took place during a trip to the city of Jinan in Shandong province where they were, according to her account, on business.

The woman alleged that her boss forced her to go on the particular trip with him to meet one of her team’s clients in the city of Jinan.

On the evening of 27 July, she wrote that the client kissed her and after consuming alcohol she woke up in a hotel room the following day stripped and unable to recall the what transpired the evening before.

CCTV footages, she had obtained, of the hotel shows that her boss entered her room four times during the course of the evening, she said.

Upon returning to Hangzhou, she said she had reported the incident to the human resources and higher authorities urging that her boss be sacked and for time-off. HR initially agreed, ultimately they didn’t follow through, she said.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang on the company’s internal message board wrote “everyone at Alibaba must empathise, reflect and take action”, according to a person who saw the post.