The report had Ma saying that the Chinese government as "terrific" and downplayed the significance of Internet censorship. Journalist Liu Yi, in a statement written in Chinese on her Facebook account, said the published version of the interview with Ma was not the same as her original submission.
"Ma never intended to make any comments about politics," her statement said. "I solemnly apologise to [Jack Ma's Chinese name) and resign from the South China Morning Post."
What appears to have happened is that the reporter had accessed its system and replaced the editor-approved article with an altered version in which Ma's reference to Tiananmen was removed without authorisation. The editor-approved version was restored and that Liu Yi had been suspended, but she chose to resign on July 19 before an investigation had been completed.
Florence Shih, of Alibaba Group's international corporate affairs department, said the Post's version omitted a phrase that made it clear Ma was not referring to the Tiananmen crackdown but rather to his decision to ask for the resignation of Alibaba.com CEO David Wei in 2011 after a rise in fraud at the site.