Lois Wheeler Snow, a former actress and writer whose criticism of human rights abuses in China was amplified by the legacy of her husband, the American journalist Edgar Snow, the author of the landmark book “Red Star Over China,” died on April 3 at a hospital in Nyon, Switzerland. She was 97.
前演员、作家洛伊斯·惠勒·斯诺(Lois Wheeler Snow)于4月3日在瑞士尼翁一家医院去世，享年97岁。斯诺生前对中国的人权侵犯问题的诸多批评，在其丈夫、著有划时代作品《红星照耀中国》的美国记者埃德加·斯诺(Edgar Snow)的传奇助推下显得愈发有力。
Her daughter, Sian Snow, confirmed the death. Her mother had lived in Switzerland since 1959.
Lois Wheeler was an up-and-coming Broadway actress in 1949 when she married Mr. Snow, who was best known for “Red Star Over China” (1937), a sympathetic portrayal of China’s struggling young Communist revolutionaries. It introduced many Western readers to Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and others who would go on to lead the People’s Republic of China.
1949年与埃德加·斯诺结婚时，洛伊斯·惠勒还是百老汇一名崭露头角的演员。她的丈夫因《红星照耀中国》(Red Star Over China，1937)而闻名于世，这本书以赞同的视角描绘了年轻的中国共产主义革命者的斗争，向许多西方读者介绍了毛泽东、周恩来，以及其他随后领导了中华人民共和国的人物。
“China became part of my life when I met and married Edgar Snow,” Ms. Snow wrote in an essay in 2011.
On her first visit to that country, in 1970, she and her husband were treated like royalty. She attended a Ping-Pong match with Zhou, the first premier of the People’s Republic; dined with Soong Ching-ling, the wife of Sun Yat-sen; and, notably, stood with her husband alongside Mao on the Tiananmen rostrum during the National Day Parade — a gesture later understood to be a signal from Mao to President Richard M. Nixon that Beijing was willing to reopen ties with Washington.
1970年首次到访这个国家时，她和丈夫得到了帝王般的待遇。人民共和国首任总理周恩来和她一起观看乒乓球赛，与孙中山的妻子宋庆龄共进晚餐，尤其值得注意的还有，在国庆游行时，她和她的丈夫与毛泽东并肩站在了天安门城楼上——后来，人们才将这一姿态理解为毛泽东向理查德·M·尼克松(Richard M. Nixon)总统发出信号，表示愿与华盛顿重启关系。
When Mr. Snow’s health began to deteriorate in the early 1970s, Mao and Zhou sent a team of three doctors, four nurses and an interpreter to Switzerland, where the couple were living by then. Even after her husband died in 1972, Ms. Snow remained on friendly terms with Chinese leaders and continued to visit China frequently.
“I was a very privileged person and was driven around in Red Flag limousines with lace curtains,” Ms. Snow said in an interview with Time Asia in 2000. “I was able to meet a lot of people just because I was Mrs. Edgar Snow.”
But what began as a warm and vibrant friendship with Chinese officials soured following the government’s violent suppression of Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, which left hundreds of civilians dead. Afterward, Ms. Snow began to see the Communist Party — the party that she and her husband had so ardently supported over the years — in a different light.
“It just woke me up,” she said in the Time Asia interview. “You’d see people being dragged off with bloody faces, for instance. And little by little in my head grew the knowledge that the families of these people were being persecuted in some way.”
Ms. Snow immediately condemned the crackdown and vowed never to return to China. Over the years, she wrote letters to top Chinese leaders like Deng Xiaoping and Zhu Rongji, hoping her husband’s stature in China could help call attention to the plight of the families affected by the Tiananmen crackdown.
“This is all outside my jurisdiction,” she once said, “but I do, through fortune, bear the name of Edgar Snow, and I feel a certain responsibility about the use of the name in China.”
In 2000, Ms. Snow, then 79, returned to Beijing one last time in the hope of passing on a donation to a prominent activist whose son had been killed during the Tiananmen turmoil.
That visit to China, her last, could not have been more different from her first to the country 30 years earlier. She and her son, Christopher, were subject to surveillance while visiting the cemetery at Peking University, where half of her husband’s ashes were buried.
When they tried to meet with the activist Ding Zilin, whose teenage son had been killed in the Tiananmen protests, they were surrounded at the gate of People’s University in Beijing, where Ms. Ding lived, by at least two dozen plainclothes police officers, filmed surreptitiously and prevented from entering.
Ms. Ding later recalled saying to the police who had blocked the meeting: “How can you be so cruel? She’s an old friend of China.”
Lois Wheeler was born in Stockton, Calif., on July 12, 1920, to Raymond Joseph Wheeler, a mayor of Stockton, and the former Katherine Kurtz, a homemaker. After studying drama at the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in her hometown, Ms. Snow moved to New York City, where she studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and became a founding member of the Actors Studio.
洛伊斯·惠勒1920年7月12日出生于加利福尼亚州斯托克顿，父亲是斯托克顿市市长雷蒙德·约瑟夫·惠勒(Raymond Joseph Wheeler)，母亲是家庭主妇，婚前叫凯瑟琳·库尔茨(Katherine Kurtz)。在家乡的太平洋学院(College of the Pacific，即现在的太平洋大学）学习了戏剧表演后，斯诺搬到了纽约市。在那里，她在社区剧院(Neighborhood Playhouse)学习，并成为演员工作室(Actors Studio)的创始成员。
As a young actress, Ms. Snow appeared in several Broadway plays, including “The Fifth Season” and the original production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” She met Mr. Snow, who was then married to Helen Foster Snow, at a Russian War Relief party in New York in 1946. (Mr. Snow’s first marriage ended in divorce.)
作为一名年轻的演员，斯诺参演了多部百老汇剧目，包括《第五季》(The Fifth Season)和亚瑟·米勒(Arthur Miller)的《吾子吾弟》(All My Sons)的首演版。1946年，她在俄罗斯战争救援(Russian War Relief)在纽约举行的一场聚会上与埃德加·斯诺相识。当时，埃德加·斯诺的妻子是海伦·福斯特·斯诺(Helen Foster Snow)。（他的第一段婚姻以离婚告终。)
Not long after Mr. Snow and Ms. Wheeler married, in 1949, they found themselves effectively blacklisted from working, suspected of Communist ties as the McCarthy era began to unfold. They moved with their two children, Christopher and Sian, to Switzerland, settling near Geneva, in 1959.
Christopher died in 2008. Besides her daughter, Sian, Ms. Snow is survived by two grandchildren.
Though her first impressions of China were largely shaped by her husband, in later years Ms. Snow needed no help in forming her own opinions about the country that had so influenced her life.
“It’s hard even for me to realize that I went for such a long time without being aware of the transgressions of human rights, that it took Tiananmen to wake me up,” she said in an interview with The New York Times in 2000. “There it was on television, in the living room, in front of your face. The kids, my children, were with me. We were screaming. It was like being there.”