The Chinese translation of the article "75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future," in which Putin justifies the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, holds the Polish leadership responsible for Hitler's attack on the country and calls the Baltic countries' accession to the USSR legal, appeared on the Chinese version of the Sputnik website (part of the "Russia Today") on June 20.
The reasons for its blocking by the Chinese authorities remain unclear. Sputnik's press office did not say why this could have happened. The press service of MIA "Russia Today" also refused to comment on the situation.
The blocking took place despite the 2018 agreement on a strategic partnership between MIA Russia Today and the Media Corporation of China, a holding company which includes China's largest TV and radio companies.
As part of the agreement, Russian state media outlets publish dozens of Chinese propaganda materials monthly, such as the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where up to a million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are being forcibly detained in camps, according to Human Rights Watch.
Chinese journalists are forbidden to write negatively about Russia. But it is not always possible to promote the Russian agenda among the Chinese audience.
"Of course, China is a much stronger partner than Russia, and Russia is much more dependent on China than China on Russia. Therefore, equal partnership in the flow of information can hardly be expected," said Maria Repnikova, a Chinese media expert and professor of global communications at Georgia State University.
"China has its own position on Crimea, so if Russia wanted to publish something in the Chinese media in defense of the annexation of Crimea, it would be absolutely impossible," explains Professor Sergey Radchenko of Cardiff University.
Putin wrote his article in response to the resolution of the European Parliament adopted last fall condemning Stalinism, Nazism and other totalitarian regimes. The resolution states, in particular, that the Second World War was the result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
Putin strongly condemned the resolution, saying that "putting the Soviet Union and fascist Germany on the same board is the height of cynicism."
In the article, Putin, in particular, wrote that the accession of the Baltic countries to the USSR under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was carried out with the consent of the authorities of these countries and "complied with international and state law of that time."