BEIJING • China yesterday decried a fresh ban by India on scores of Chinese apps – including the hit game PUBG – as a bitter border showdown seeped into the technology sphere.
Internet giant Tencent is among the Chinese makers of 118 more apps being targeted in the latest Indian ban, which follows a rumbling territorial dispute along a disputed Himalayan frontier.
At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat during a battle in June.
India has hit back by pulling scores of Chinese apps from its massive domestic market, including video-sharing platform TikTok.
The latest salvo announced on Wednesday dragged in blockbuster shoot-’em-up game PUBG, angering the Chinese authorities and dismaying Indian gamers.
“India has abused the concept of national security and adopted discriminatory restrictive measures against Chinese companies,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told an online press briefing yesterday.
China firmly opposes the measure, he said, urging India to “correct its wrong practices”.
At a separate regular briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday, Beijing also implied that India had imposed the ban in the face of pressure from the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying warned against short-sighted participation in US restrictions against Chinese technology.
She said: “Indian users’ rights and interests are first harmed, and Chinese businesses’ rights and interests will also be harmed.
“So what India has done is not beneficial to anyone.”
The Indian authorities say they are moving against the proliferation of Chinese technology because it promotes activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
India has abused the concept of national security and adopted discriminatory restrictive measures against Chinese companies.
CHINESE COMMERCE MINISTRY SPOKESMAN GAO FENG
China has also suffered casualties in the high-altitude Himalayan battleground, but has not given figures as tensions between the two powers rise.
India has increasingly wielded economic weapons against its neighbour in their dispute, freezing Chinese companies out of contracts – including for its 5G mobile phone infrastructure – on top of the app bans.
New Delhi has warned that relations risk permanent damage unless Beijing pulls its troops back to positions they held before May.
But the latest clashes in the disputed border region this week were triggered by the Indian side, according to Indian officials with knowledge of the matter.
Thousands of soldiers with the Indian military had executed a stealth night-time operation to claim strategic outposts offering a clear view of troop movements in the disputed territory.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG