A sexual assault case involving Chinese billionaire Richard Liu and a graduate student has been settled in the U.S.
Liu is the founder and CEO of JD.com. According to The New York Times, a former University of Minnesota student named Liu Jingyao accused Liu of raping after her a night out on August 30, 2018. Liu, who as 45 at the time of the alleged incident, was visiting the University of Minnesota as part of a doctoral business administration program.
CNN reports Minnesota police arrested Liu in August 2018 on suspicion of sexual misconduct. Liu denied any wrongdoing. He returned to China quickly after being released without being charged and without having to post bail.
In April 2019, Liu Jingyao filed a civil lawsuit against Liu claiming he sexually assaulted her and asking for $50,000 in damages. The lawsuit claimed that Liu pressured her to drink large amounts of alcohol at a restaurant. After leaving the restaurant, she was directed into a limo with Liu where he attempted to grope her. The lawsuit alleges he then assaulted her at an apartment.
According to BBC, after the lawsuit was filed, video camera footage from police bodycams and surveillance cameras appeared online. It shows Liu Jingyao interacting with Liu and the police. Clips from the footage were used online to build a smear campaign that labeled Liu Jingyao as a gold digger.
The case was settled late Saturday but the settlement amount was not disclosed. Feminists in China have praised Jingyao for her courage. Zhou Xiaoxuan, a former state television intern, whose sexual harassment claims were dismissed by a Chinese court posted about the settlement on WeChat.
“Jingyao’s resistance four years ago was an extremely rare show of courage – it is not uncommon for business bosses to prey on young girls, but she is the first person to stand up, this is the courage beyond human nature,” Zhou said, according to CNN.
“Don’t forget that when all this happened, Jingyao was just a student. To this day, she is still dealing with JD.com’s strong public relations and well-paid lawyers,” she said.
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