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China slams Kaspersky and Symantec with government bans

China has come down hard on US-based security company Symantec and its Russian counterpart Kaspersky, removing it from the list of approved antivirus providers in Chinese government computer systems.

The news comes amid a move from the Beijing government to limit Chinese dependency on foreign technology firms.

The state-controlled People's Daily reported the news early Sunday on its English language Twitter feed, saying that the government's procurement agency "has excluded Symantec & Kaspersky" from a list of approved security software suppliers.

These reports come after Beijing late last week updated a public website that lists technology vendors whose goods are approved for use by the nation's massive central government.

Symantec denied that any action had been taken against them in China.

Officials from Kaspersky also came out to refute any allegations of a country-wide ban.

"The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center temporarily rescinded its endorsements of all foreign security providers, leaving only Chinese vendors on the approved list," a Kaspersky spokesperson announced.

"However, this restriction only applies to federal institutions whose funding comes from the central government procurement budget, and does not include regional governments or large enterprises. We are investigating and engaging in conversations with the Chinese authorities about this matter. It is too premature to go into any additional detail at this time."

The statement continued:

"Kaspersky Lab has always met all legal requirements in the countries where it has operations, including China. As a provider for the Chinese Central Government Procurement Center, Kaspersky Lab has long been providing superior protection to the government, enterprises and public institutions at all levels, all the while making significant contributions in various cybercrime prevention campaigns."

The news comes at the same time as China's northern neighbour, Russia, moves to cut its own dependency on foreign technology.

Russia's state Duma – the lower house of its federal legislature – is currently drafting a bill that everyone expects it will pass. The bill orders Russian government agencies and both state-owned and businesses in which the state has a partial stake, to give domestic firms "preference" over foreign computer software and hardware from the US, Europe, or Asia.

China seems to be making similar moves. The Chinese government has reportedly banned the use of Windows 8 from all of its computers, and has even moved against other blue chip companies like .