CBCGDF’s Public Interest Litigation Case on the “Annual Inspection Artifacts” Against Taobao, Shenzhen Sumei Company Was Selected into the Fifteenth (2019) China’s Top Ten Influential Lawsuit
2020/4/12 18:12:00 本站

China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) sued Taobao, Shenzhen Sumei and other on the "annual inspection artifact" public interest litigation case was selected in the Fifteenth (2019) China's Top Ten Influential Lawsuits. This case helps to further clarify the responsibility for air pollution in the era of e-commerce and broadens the scope of environmental public interest litigation (EPIL).


The fifteenth China Top Ten Influential Litigation Appraisal Activities were jointly sponsored by the Case Law Research Society of the Chinese Law Society, the Judicial Case Research Institute of the Supreme People ’s Court, "Applicable Law", "Chinese Law Review" and "Southern Weekend".


The ten influential lawsuits selected this time were finally selected after the joint efforts of the organizers and the opinions of relevant experts and scholars and relevant business chambers of the Supreme People's Court. They are all cases concluded by the People's Court in 2019, which have a broad impact on society and have significant legal significance. The fair trial of these lawsuits is of great value in promoting strict law enforcement, demonstrating judicial justice, promoting the spirit of the rule of law, improving citizens’ legal awareness, and advancing the modernization of state and social governance. Judicial cases are the fruits of law enforcement, the footsteps of the rule of law, and the history of faith in the process of rule of law. "A case is better than a stack of documents", and some are better than a stack of laws. Ten influential lawsuits are typical examples.


The ten influential lawsuits were selected for the purpose of promoting the rule of law by case, promoting the rule of law by case, documenting the rule of law by case, reviewing the rule of law by case, and rule by case.


CBCGDF v. Shenzhen Sumei Company and Other “Annual Inspection Artifact” Public Interest Litigation Case


[Brief Introduction of the case]


The case was accepted in the first instance of the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court on November 8, 2016. The plaintiff China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) filed against the defendant Shenzhen Sumei Company: the defendant Sumei Company operated an online store on Taobao to sell the so-called "annual inspection artifact" series products (such as the three-way catalyst fire lotus metal soft carrier vehicle exhaust exceeding standard treatment purifier, etc.).


The plaintiff believes that Sumei is using fraudulent methods to help the vehicles with unqualified exhaust to avoid the annual detection of automobile exhaust, so that vehicles that originally exceeded the standard can be confused and continue on the road. It has caused a very serious impact on China’s pollution prevention and control work.


The Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court made the first instance judgment in June 2019. The first-instance court held that when Sumei Company sold three products in the Taobao store, the above-mentioned products could be used to circumvent the annual inspection of motor vehicles through fraudulent methods and abet or assist some motor vehicle owners to commit infringements. The owner of the motor vehicle shall be jointly and severally liable. The question about whether Sumei should bear the responsibility of environmental pollution infringement. The court of first instance held that the defendant's actions in this case constituted damage to the public interest and should bear corresponding tort liability. The judgment of the court of first instance is as follows: the defendant Shenzhen Sumei Environmental Protection Co., Ltd. apologize to the public in the national media within 15 days from the date of the effective date of the judgment; Within 15 days from the date of entry into force of the judgment, compensation for air pollution environmental remediation costs of 3.5 million yuan (the amount is dedicated to China's air pollution environmental governance).


After the verdict in the first instance, the CBCDFF filed an appeal on the ground that Zhejiang Taobao Company should assume joint and several liability. The Higher People's Court of Zhejiang Province made a second-instance judgment in October 2019, arguing that Zhejiang Taobao, as an information platform service provider, does not itself participate in the transactions of member users, and has performed identity checks and prior reminders in the process of providing the services obligation. In addition, after receiving the complaint in this case, timely removal measures were taken. Zhejiang Taobao Company removed all similar products including the products involved in the case and stopped related platform services. Its behavior did not violate the second paragraph of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, the "notification-deletion" obligation established for network service providers, nor does it constitute the situation of "knowing or should know that network users use their network services to infringe the civil rights and interests of others" as stipulated in the third paragraph, CBCGDF's claim that Zhejiang Taobao Company should bear joint responsibility lacks facts and legal basis, so the judgment rejected the appeal and upheld the original judgment.


However, the judgment of the second trial also pointed out that Zhejiang Taobao Company is not a prohibited product for sellers similar to the case sold on its platform, but the product may be used for illegal purposes, and the management of information on the online platform should be strengthened and established to be effective. The search and supervision system effectively fulfills the legal responsibilities of network operation service providers, and shoulders more social responsibilities to protect the blue sky and clear water.


[Reasons for inclusion]


Motor vehicles are increasing day by day, the difficulty of air pollution control is increasing, and the task of annual inspection of motor vehicle exhaust is arduous. The so-called "annual inspection artifact" sold on the online e-commerce platform is to circumvent the annual inspection of motor vehicle exhaust by falsifying and instigating or assisting some motor vehicle owners to commit infringements, the more "best-selling" this illegal tool product is, the greater the negative effect on atmospheric governance and automobile annual inspection.


The plaintiff China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) filed a public interest litigation in this regard. The court of first instance ruled that the defendant Sumei Company apologized and compensated for the air pollution and environmental repair costs. It was dedicated to atmospheric governance, which helped to further expand the responsibility of air pollution in the Internet age and expanded environmental public interest litigation type.


According to the safe harbor rules and the red flag rules, the court of second instance determined that online platform service providers do not need to bear joint and several responsibilities, but clearly pointed out that online stores should strengthen information management and establish an effective supervision system, which is conducive to urging online platforms to be used for illegal purposes. In terms of products, we should establish a sense of responsibility and build a beautiful ecological environment of blue sky, clear water and green mountains.



(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese articles:



By / Maggie