China rails against 'discriminatory' India app ban


Beijing (AFP)

China on Thursday decried a fresh ban by India on scores of Chinese apps -- including the hit game PUBG -- as a bitter border showdown seeped out into the tech sphere.

Internet giant Tencent is among the Chinese makers of 118 more apps be 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 whipped in blockbuster shoot-'em-up game PUBG, and has angered Chinese authorities and dismayed 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 on Thursday.

China firmly opposes the measure, he said, urging India to "correct its wrong practices".

Beijing also implied India had imposed the ban in the face of pressure from the United States, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warning Thursday against "short-sighted" participation in US restrictions against Chinese technology.

Indian authorities say they are moving against the proliferation of Chinese tech because it promotes activities "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

China has also suffered casualties in the high-altitude Himayalan battleground but has not given figures as tensions have risen in recent months.

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.