In 2021, government officials and media executives from Russia and China discussed the exchange of news and social content. Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Russian defense ministry spokesperson resuscitated debunked claims about a U.S.-funded bioweapons program in the region, accusing Ukrainian labs of experimenting with bat coronaviruses in an attempt to spark “the covert spread of deadliest pathogens.” Disinformation is an old Russian government tactic. But this time Russia had help. Within days, Chinese officials and media outlets had picked up the lies and were amplifying and expanding on the biolabs yarn. The Chinese Communist Party tabloid Global Times created two splashy spreads, one sourced in part to Sputnik News, the other featuring a quote from Russian President Vladimir Putin. “What is the U.S. hiding in the biolabs discovered in Ukraine?” it screamed. (…) Since the war broke out in February, experts have been struck by a convergence in Russian and Chinese media narratives. While some of the convergence was likely happenstance, occurring when storylines aided both governments’ goals, documents found in a trove of hacked emails from Russia state broadcaster VGTRK show that China and Russia have pledged to join forces in media content by inking cooperation agreements at the ministerial level. A bilateral agreement signed July 2021 makes clear that cooperating on news coverage and narratives is a big goal for both governments. At a virtual summit that month, leading Russian and Chinese government and media figures discussed dozens of news products and cooperative ventures, including exchanging news content, trading digital media strategies, and co-producing television shows. The effort was led by Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communication and Mass Media, and by China’s National Radio and Television Administration. (…) In 2020, the independent Russian-language news outlet Meduza reported the existence of such propaganda agreements, which have resulted in a proliferation of pro-Beijing stories in Russian media. But this is the first time that the text of an agreement has been published. The Ministry of Digital Development did not respond to a request for comment, and the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to a request for comment. VGTRK’s email system was hacked earlier this year when, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hackers targeted more than 50 Russian companies and government agencies. The transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets has published more than 13 terabytes of documents from the hacks on its website