Prosecutors have dropped their case against a former Alibaba Group holding manager accused of sexual assault by a colleague.
The manager, surnamed Wang, was investigated after a female subordinate published a viral account of being sexually assaulted and raped during a business trip.
The female victim was ignored when she raised the assault with her employers, but her allegations became harder to dismiss when she took a megaphone into the company’s cafeteria to make her accusations publicly.
The allegations led to the manager being fired, prompted the resignation of two senior executives and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Zhang, called the company’s handling of the incident was a “humiliation.”
Alibaba, China’s biggest online tech company, has promised to create anti-sexual harassment policies and a channel for workers to report misconduct.
Despite the online outcry, prosecutor’s did not approve Wang’s arrest. According to a statement released by police and the manager was released after being held in detention for just 15 days. They found that Wang was guilty of “indecency,” but judged that his behaviour did not constitute a criminal offence.
The statement, which was posted online, has amassed 10,000 comments amid scathing backlash. “Message received: Sexually assaulting women won’t put you behind bars,” one Weibo user wrote.
The episode has drawn attention to the mistreatment of women across workplaces in China and has breathed new life into campaigns against sexual harassment and assault.
Women’s rights activists in China have previously said the movement has struggled to gain momentum because it faces censorship by government.