Man gets 18 months in prison for indecent acts against Alibaba employee

(     Updated : 2022-06-23


A logo of Alibaba is seen in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on March 21, 2016. [Photo/IC]

A man was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a court in Shandong province on Wednesday after he was convicted of committing indecent assaults against a female employee of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The Huaiyin District People's Court in Jinan, capital of Shandong, announced the verdict of Zhang Guo, who was a client of Alibaba when he met the ex-employee, surnamed Zhou, for the first time on July 27 last year at a restaurant.

According to a statement posted by the court, Zhang committed indecent acts against Zhou near the front desk of the restaurant and in its private room when the woman got drunk that day.

At around 7 am the following day, Zhang went to a hotel where Zhou was staying and then molested her in her room, the statement added.

It said that Zhang's behavior met the standards for the crime of coercive indecency, as he took advantage of Zhou's drunkenness to commit indecent acts with her against her will.

It added that it made the ruling after Zhang opted to plead not guilty.

The case drew widespread attention last year after Zhou posted a detailed internal post claiming that her male manager, surnamed Wang, and Zhang sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during a business trip to Jinan on July 27.

She said in the post that she had complained about the incident to Alibaba's human resources department but was ignored.

The post quickly sparked intense public criticism at Alibaba, which fired Wang on Aug 9, while the client Zhang, who worked for the Jinan Hualian supermarket, was also fired.

During that business trip, Zhou, Wang and two other Alibaba employees had gone to Jinan to negotiate a deal, and they dined with four of the supermarket's workers, including Zhang, after a contract was signed.

In August last year, Zhang and Wang were detained by the Jinan police.

Later, prosecutors in Jinan approved the detention of Zhang for the alleged crime of acting indecently against women, but said that Wang's behavior did not constitute that crime.

Wang ultimately served 15 days in administrative detention.

Zhang appealed to higher court, ThePaper, a Shanghai-based news outlet, reported.