A district court in the north-eastern province of Shandong, China has dropped the sexual assault case against a former manager of the Alibaba Group Holding company. The former staff, identified only as Wang, was arrested last month after a female colleague accused him and a client of sexual assault while on a business trip to Jinan City on July 27.

The woman had posted an 11-page account on the company’s intranet detailing the sexual assault after her complaints to management fell on deaf ears and ignored by Alibaba’s human resources department. She accused her superior of coercing her into joining the business trip and forced her to drink copious amounts of alcohol while they were out dining with the client. The client allegedly kissed her at some point during that evening after which she claimed she woke up in her hotel room without her clothes on and with no memory of the events that took place the night before.

Surveillance footage she was able to acquire from the hotel captured her manager going into her room several times during the evening.

Alibaba faced fierce public backlash after employees shared screen shots of the woman’s allegations on social media. The company was said to have since dismissed 10 employees for sharing the screen shots of the woman’s account, which she was fully accessible to everyone to read. Two executives who failed to act on the allegations have also resigned from Alibaba.

According to the Chinese Global Times, the police investigations revealed that the female staff drank the equivalent of about 350 ml of alcohol during the night she was assaulted however they said no one forced her to drink excessively.

The company released a memo recently saying that Wang had admitted that “there were intimate acts” while the woman was inebriated and added that the victim gave Wang consent to enter her room as another colleague told him to check on her. Jinan police previously accused both manager and client of committing acts of forcible indecency but they did not provide details of the acts in question.

The district court said the accusation of “forcible indecency” committed by Wang was not a crime, while the People’s Procuratorate added that Wang’s arrest order was not approved.

Although the case against Wang has been dropped, prosecutors of the court approved the arrest of the client who allegedly assaulted the woman. The client was later identified as Zhang and has been reportedly fired by his employer, Jinan Hualian Supermarket.

Netizens have been locked in a divided debate on the case with some saying Wang got away too lightly while others say there was not enough evidence to conclude he is guilty.

An Alibaba sign is seen outside the company's office in Beijing on April 13, 2021. Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images