Minnesota: Chinese Billionaire Settles Sexual Assault Case

Photo: Amy Qin and Chang Che/New York Times

The Facts

  • Richard Liu, a Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur who founded JD.com INC, has settled a long-running legal battle with Liu Jingyao, a Chinese citizen, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in Minnesota in 2018. Jingyao was a 21-year-old student at the time of the alleged offense, which Richard Liu maintained was consensual.

  • A statement issued on Saturday by both parties read: "The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu... resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families." The words came just two days before a civil trial had been due to begin in Minnesota.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

If any good has come of this tragedy, it's that these events have exposed the role of wealth and power in cases of sexual assault in China. Wide discussion of these issues - generally seen as taboo among the Chinese public - has gone some way to generating debate, and enabling victims of assault to speak out. This is a victory for the Chinese #MeToo movement.

Establishment-critical narrative

China, like every other nation, certainly still faces sexual harassment and gender discrimination issues, and this settlement is a small victory. However, it shouldn't be used to galvanize the nation's #MeToo movement, which is nothing more than a Western tool to sow chaos and division, not tackle real problems. The PRC takes allegations of sexual assault seriously and investigates them to the fullest, but it requires solid evidence - not mere accusations - to confirm assault.

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