Alibaba fires staff accused of rape and claims zero tolerance towards sexual harassment

China’s forced drinking culture has dominated social media platforms after an Alibaba employee spoke up about her experiences. A female employee working for the Chinese tech giant was recently forced to drink at a client’s event and was subsequently harassed by the clients and sexually assaulted by her manager Quyi.

The hashtag “#Alibaba female staff is sexually assaulted” #阿里巴巴女员工被性侵害# hit 830 million views on Weibo. Outraged at this news, China’s online netizens commented that the: “rapist needs to be punished and leaders who appease these criminals should all step down from their positions”.

This morning, Alibaba announced its internal investigation results and fired Quyi after he confessed to treating his female colleague inappropriately. Furthermore, Alibaba’s Chairman and CEO Zhang Yong claimed that Alibaba will never hire Quyi again. Currently, the verdict on whether Quyi committed sexual assault, indecency, or other illegal acts is not yet disclosed, as the case is currently awaiting the results of a police investigation.

At the same time, the president and Human Resources generalist of Alibaba’s Neighbourhood Retail Business group decided to resign, stepping down for not offering help to the female employee in a timely manner.

Zhang Yong promised to strengthen relevant training as well as investigations into the protection of employees’ rights and interests, including sexual harassment and setting up designated channels for future reporting. As part of that, employees will receive notifications from designated personnel to ensure that their privacy is fully protected. The CEO emphasised that Alibaba has zero-tolerance towards sexual harassment. External experts and employee representatives will jointly formulate the “Code of Action for Anti-Sexual Harassment“, and Alibaba will unconditionally support employees in refusing the common practice of forced drinking.

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