Drinking culture and sexual misconduct at Alibaba

Drinking culture and sexual misconduct at Alibaba

Logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office building in Beijing, China
The logo of Alibaba Group is lit up at its office building in Beijing, China August 9, 2021. Tingshu Wang / Reuters

“China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, its top anti-corruption agency, has criticized what it called a ‘disgusting’ culture of business drinking following a sexual assault scandal at e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd,” reported Reuters earlier this week.

The scandal was sparked by a viral essay by a female Alibaba employee that details a recent work trip when she was plied with alcohol at a business dinner, groped by a client, and then sexually assaulted by her male boss. The woman also wrote that following her return from the trip, she immediately reported the incident to the company, but it took no action.

The affair has reignited a debate about work culture, and the drinking and sexual harassment that is often part of it, at Chinese companies.

Two pieces worth reading about the debate: