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Alibaba exec accused of mishandling sexual assault case wants alleged victim to apologise

Manager was fired, now wants his reputation restored with post on a prominent website

A former Alibaba exec accused of mishandling a report of sexual assault from a female employee has now sued the plaintiff for damage to his reputation and sought an apology, according to Chinese media reports.

Chinese publication, a news outlet partially funded by the Cyberspace Administration of China, reported that the case was accepted by the Yuhang District People's Court of Hangzhou City.

The former Alibaba manager, Li Yonghe, has petitioned the court to order the female employee to engage in a grand gesture of apology by posting a statement in a prominent position on a national website for 15 days. He has also requested a token payment.

The victim, who was allegedly sexually assaulted on a business trip after being pressured to drink to excess, has reportedly sought to have the case struck off court lists.

Alibaba's initial response to the incident saw the alleged victim asked to produce video evidence. Desperate to have her story told, the alleged victim posted to the Alibaba intranet to spread the news of the behavior. The case sparked activism similar to the #metoo movement in the West.

Alibaba said the accused perpetrator of sexual assault was "fired and will never be rehired. Whether he has committed rape or indecency that violates the law will be determined by law enforcement."

Alibaba acted once her complaint was made public. CEO Daniel Zhang addressed the incident both internally and on the company blog.

Li, who was the president of Neighborhood Retail as well as Xu Kun, also working in the group, both resigned.

The CEO wrote at the time: "Although it will take some time for our internal task force to understand the situation to determine the responsibilities of each relevant to the incident handling, we believe that the head of the business is both the owner of the business and the team's culture.

"When the employee reported a horrendous act such as rape, they did not make timely decisions nor took appropriate action. They did not take into consideration [her] feelings when considering her request and undertake appropriate communications."

Alibaba's head of HR was reprimanded. A corporate sexual harassment and misconduct programme was promised. That remains forthcoming.

Alibaba also implemented self-defense training for female staff. ®

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