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Mr. Xi charmed her, talking about music theory, the article said. “Peng said, ‘At that time, I was very moved. Isn’t this the one I’ve been looking for? He’s unsophisticated, but he’s really intelligent.’”

That article was widely reprinted in whole or part, even by the official Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party’s Peoples Daily newspaper, but has since been removed from their websites.

In a 2001 article, Mrs. Peng said she felt fortunate for having an understanding husband.

“As a government official, he’s very busy. When I visit him in Fuzhou, he has to delay meetings or trips to the countryside in order to find time to spend with me,” the Shanghai Morning Post quoted her as saying. “Every time I go, we’ll try our best to avoid quarrels and enjoy those hard-earned days.”

Those articles and others have been deleted from most websites. While the deletions are not definitely the government’s handiwork, the fact that cached versions of the articles are being erased too conforms to the way China’s Internet censors work.

The State Council Information Office did not respond to a faxed request for comment.

Rebecca MacKinnon, a China specialist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation studying Internet issues, said the censorship fits China’s long-standing policy of not reporting details of top leaders’ personal lives.

Reporters and editors may have been more careless when the articles were published, but were apparently now cleaning up since Mr. Xi’s political future has become more clear, Ms. MacKinnon said.

Mrs. Peng will likely keep fading from public view as Mr. Xi’s political star continues to rise. She hasn’t appeared on the Spring Festival Gala since 2007, just months before Mr. Xi was named to the Communist Party’s ruling nine-member Standing Committee.

“Chinese leaders would never let their wives have a high public profile,” said Li Datong, a former state newspaper editor who was removed from his job for reporting on sensitive topics. “Sometimes they might take their wives on a state visit, and you may see them holding hands and even then, it just looks so stiff.”