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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Volkswagen Sued by Chinese Environmental Group Over Emission Scandal

The UK Are To Re-run Emissions Tests On Volkswagen Cars After German Scandal

(Photo : Rob Stothard/Getty Images) Volkswagen has been sued in China over the emission scandal that affected millions of cars worldwide.

A local environmental group has sued German automaker Volkswagen over the company's alleged cheating on smoke emissions readings.

China Daily reports that Beijing-based Non-Government Organization China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation has filed the lawsuit against the car company because of circumventing Chinese laws in the pursuit of more profit.

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This action by Volkswagen worsened the air pollution problem of the country, affecting both the public's health and rights.

A lawyer for the NGO, Wang Wenyong, said Monday that the German automaker's actions have violated laws on product quality, environmental protection, and tort liability. Because of this, he said, they filed the case.

The lawsuit was accepted Thursday by the Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin.

In the lawsuit, the NGO asked the court to order the car company to apologize for cheating and then compensate for the damage it caused to the environment. The group also asked that VW be ordered to give environmental remediation.

This is the first public-interest lawsuit in China related to car-generated pollution. The NGO hopes that by this, they will raise the public's awareness in supervising motor vehicle exhaust.

VW's Chinese branch has yet to comment on the lawsuit, but they said that they will be giving updates some time soon.

According to Reuters, VW's emission cheating scandal has already affected up to 11 million diesel cars worldwide. Since it was discovered in September, investigations have been made and lawsuits have been filed.

VW admitted to installing software that switched pollution controls while the car was being tested. During driving, however, it switches back to normal, so that the car will have heightened fuel efficiency.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that in China, this had limited impact due to the country's slow adoption of diesel-powered vehicles. China only has 1,950 VW vehicles that came imported with the software. The car company said that they will recall them.

These cheating software-equipped cars release excessive exhaust while driving, which in turn worsen air quality. This, according to the lawsuit, is a major source of air pollutants that affect public health.

"We filed the lawsuits in the public interest," Wang said.

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