Alibaba rape allegation reveals China tech industry's toxic culture

The allegations against Alibaba may have shocked the Chinese technology industry and the public, but it should not have surprised them. PHOTO: REUTERS
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HANGZHOU (NYTIMES) - For years, as Alibaba turned from a scrappy Chinese start-up into an e-commerce behemoth, some of its business units welcomed new employees with an ice-breaking ceremony that alarmed many of those who endured it.

Fresh hires were required to answer deeply personal questions in front of their colleagues, according to former employees: about their first loves, their first kiss and their first sexual encounters. The questions were phrased in ways that are not printable in a newspaper, they said.

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