Chinese authorities said they found that a female Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. employee was sexually abused both by her boss and a business client, supporting many details from an account by the woman that has rocked China’s internet in the past week.
The official statement, published late Saturday by police in the eastern Chinese city of Jinan, comes amid simmering public anger around the incident, including toward Alibaba, the Chinese internet giant. The statement said that authorities had taken “criminal coercive measures" toward the two men, which under Chinese law could include bail, detention or arrest, among other actions.
In the official account on Saturday, the woman, named by police only as Ms. Zhou, attended a celebratory work dinner in late July, during which beer and liquor were consumed. At the restaurant, Ms. Zhou was molested by a male business client surnamed Zhang, police said.
Later in the night, Ms. Zhou’s direct supervisor, surnamed Wang, dropped the woman off at a nearby hotel, police said, after which Mr. Wang entered Ms. Zhou’s hotel room multiple times. During his second visit, Mr. Wang forced himself upon her, then ordered condoms to be delivered to the hotel front desk, according to the police.
The next morning, Mr. Zhang visited Ms. Zhou’s room, bringing condoms from home, also forcing himself on her, then taking away her underwear, police said.
Though authorities said an investigation isn’t yet complete, their account aligns with details in an 11-page account by Ms. Zhou that was shared widely on Chinese social media one week earlier.
The police account differs at times from the woman’s account and isn’t as detailed, with authorities only describing the men’s actions as “forcible indecency." Authorities said that condoms belonging to the men were unopened and no evidence of rape was found.
They also determined that the woman wasn’t pressured by her supervisor to join the work trip and that she wasn’t forced to drink during dinner, as Ms. Zhou had written.
In her account that circulated online, Ms. Zhou accuses the men of sexual assault, and in a separate statement, she said she had been raped. She identified both by their full names, while the police refer to them by surname only. Neither Mr. Wang nor Mr. Zhang could be reached for comment.
Authorities said they arrived at their findings by conducting interviews and forensic inspections, viewing surveillance footage and collecting electronic data. They didn’t disclose whether they obtained separate accounts from the victim and alleged perpetrators.
Mr. Wang was fired by Alibaba after the incident became public for what the company described as engaging in “overly intimate acts" with the female employee while she was inebriated.
Chinese internet users in recent days have expressed widespread sympathy with the woman, whom they saw as a victim of forced drinking in Chinese work culture and mismanagement by Alibaba.
News of the official findings instantly became one of the most read items on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. A hashtag created by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily garnered hundreds of millions of views on Saturday night.
The details in the police statement elicited a mixed reaction as readers closely parsed the police statement, comparing it with Ms. Zhou’s account.
Some applauded authorities for moving quickly to disclose its findings, while others expressed disbelief that rape wasn’t possible to prove, given the presence of condoms. “They just don’t want to say it was rape," read one such comment.
In her account, Ms. Zhou said she was made to drink until on the verge of unconsciousness and that she woke up naked in her hotel room to find an already-opened pack of condoms on the bedside table. She vaguely recalled her supervisor on top of her during the night, kissing and groping her while she cried.
The police account doesn’t address Ms. Zhou’s detailed allegation and says that at times Mr. Wang was in her room to check on her. Authorities found that Mr. Wang received permission from Ms. Zhou to obtain a keycard to her room from the hotel front desk, which he used to enter her room where he forced himself upon her.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text