ive minutes of surveillance footage have gone viral on Chinese social media showing events of the night in which a Chinese student at the University of Minnesota claims that she was raped by JD.com CEO Richard Liu.
It’s not clear who uploaded the footage — which includes edited video from a group dinner at a Japanese restaurant and from the lobby and hallways of the student’s apartment building on the night of August 30th — however, an attorney for Liu has declared that the clips are authentic and show the accuser’s account of that night to be false.
The 21-year-old student had told Minneapolis police that she was seated beside Liu at the group dinner and pressured into drinking to intoxication. However, the surveillance tape shows the two sitting two chairs apart and the student does not appear to be drunk. When Liu gets up to leave, she quickly gets up and follows behind him out of the door.
In her account to police, the student said that when she left the restaurant, she asked one of Liu’s assistants to call a car from a ride service for her. When a black SUV pulled up, she got inside, not realizing that it was Liu’s vehicle and Liu got in right behind her. The student then alleges that she was dropped off outside of an unfamiliar mansion, but refused to go inside and insisted on being taken back home. Once back inside the SUV, the student later told friends that Liu began making “physical advances” on her despite her protests.
There is no footage from the vehicle to confirm the student’s account.
Surveillance video from the lobby of the student’s apartment building shows Liu, the student, and Liu’s female assistant entering the building together and using an elevator. The student does not appear to be in any distress. Soon, the assistant departs and Liu and the student continue together arm-in-arm. Finally, she opens up the door and lets him into her apartment.
The woman had told police that she believed Liu was simply walking her to her door. She claimed that after entering the apartment, Liu began trying to pull off her sweater, skirt, and bra, holiding her arms while trying to throw her on the bed as she told him “no.” Liu allegedly responded to her protests by telling her that she could be the Wendi Deng to his Rupert Murdoch.
“We were battling against each other on the bed and finally I escaped from him and went back to the living room and put the bra back on again,” the student continued. “Finally, he just threw me onto the bed. He was on me. He was heavy. I tried to push him away. But he was on top of me… and then he raped me.”
At 2:05 am that night, the student texted her friends: “Liu Qiangdong is in my bed. He forcibly took me away last night and I couldn’t escape. I was slept by him,” using a Chinese idiom for being raped. “I didn’t do it willingly… I want to escape.” In response, one friend called the police who arrived at about 3 am to take Liu away.
Initially, the student said that she did not want to press charges and Liu was taken instead to his penthouse suite at a historic hotel in downtown Minneapolis. However, the following day, she changed her mind and went to the police station to give a statement. Liu was arrested on suspicion of rape and taken to jail where he spent one night before being released without bail or travel restrictions. The next day, he took a plane back to China.
Liu, the CEO of China’s second-biggest e-commerce company, was in Minneapolis as part of a weeklong summer residency for an expensive business PhD program offered by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management to elite Chinese professionals. His accuser was one of the student volunteers who helped the program’s members during their time in Minnesota.
Liu has denied raping the student. Minneapolis police concluded an investigation into the accusations in September. In December, prosecutors announced that they would not be filing criminal charges against Liu, explaining that the case had “profound evidentiary problems.” Last week, the student, Jingyao Liu, filed a civil case against Richard Liu in a court in Minnesota’s Hennepin county.
Richard Liu’s attorney in Minnesota, Jill Brisbois, told the Associated Press that the surveillance clips “further dispel the misinformation and false claims that have been widely circulated and clearly support the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office decision not to file charges against our client.”
“The way it gets described sounds so much more nefarious than it actually is. She’s step-in-step with him at every point,” Brisbois added, declaring that the videos speak for themselves.
Meanwhile, the law firm that is representing the student has contended that the footage is consistent with what she told law enforcement and described in her lawsuit. However, they have certainly failed to convince Chinese netizens the overwhelming majority of whom have branded her liar out for some of Liu’s money.