China starts blocking mentions of Putin online

Weibo, one of China's largest and state-influenced social networks, started deleting posts mentioning Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Financial Times reports that the ban on mentions of Putin's name started over the weekend when Chinese president Xi Jinping met other members of the G-20, including Putin, and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The ban appeared to affect only Weibo users with more than 1,000 followers. Their followers wouldn't be able to comment on posts they made if they mentioned Putin in the text.

The ban appears to have been temporary; by Tuesday, comments were reopened on previously affected messages.

SEE ALSO: For China's censors, livestreaming is a huge headache

The government's censorship arm usually scrubs Weibo both by hand and by automatic keyword filtering.

The ban on Putin is interesting, and offers the Russian president a privilege rarely offered to foreign leaders.

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Protests erupt at G-20
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Police use water cannons and peper spray against demonstrators at Hamburg harbor attending the �elcome to Hell�anti-G20 protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Police use water cannon torwards a protester with a red flag during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Police use water cannon against demonstrators at Hamburg harbor attending the �elcome to Hell�anti-G20 protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Police use water cannons and peper spray against demonstrators at Hamburg harbor attending the �elcome to Hell�anti-G20 protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: A woman looks at a man's eye after he was allegedly punched by a police man during the 'Welcome to Hell' protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts tonight at the 'Welcome to Hell' anti-G20 protest. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Police use water cannon against demonstrators at Hamburg harbor attending the �elcome to Hell�anti-G20 protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: People carrying flowers and wearing cycling helmets look at the riot police during the 'Welcome to Hell' protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts tonight at the 'Welcome to Hell' anti-G20 protest. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Riot police block protesters during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A can is thrown as riot police use water cannon during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
HAMBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Riot police stand guard during the 'Welcome to Hell' protest march on July 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of the G20 group of nations are arriving in Hamburg today for the July 7-8 economic summit and authorities are bracing for large-scale and disruptive protest efforts tonight at the 'Welcome to Hell' anti-G20 protest. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
Riot police use water cannon during during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / STEFFI LOOS (Photo credit should read STEFFI LOOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police use pepper spray during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police use water cannon torwards a protester with a red flag during the 'Welcome to Hell' rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
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Previously, China moved to prevent its people from riling Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader. Weibo has on multiple occasions over recent years blocked posts and searches with the words "Fatty Kim the Third," a pejorative term for Kim.

Here are posts showing an error message (in orange) that came up for users trying to mention Putin.

Posts containing any discussion of the ban were also scrubbed from Weibo itself, according to Free Weibo, a website that collects censored posts on the social networking site.

The ban comes as Sino-Russian relations reach a new high.

Chinese president Xi Jinping told Russian media early in July said that relations between China and Russia was at the "best time in history," and that Russia and China were each other's "most trustworthy strategic partners," according to a CNBC report.

Both countries also issued a joint statement denouncing North Korean missile launches, after the authoritarian state tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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