Wee of NY Times moves from biz desk to SE Asia bureau chief
Sui-Lee Wee, a business reporter for The New York Times based in China, has been named the paper’s Southeast Asia bureau chief.
International editor Michael Slackman sent out the following announcement:
As a correspondent in China, Sui-Lee Wee has had a preternatural eye for stories. A Chinese village where elderly farmers are yogis. A school that trains boys to be “real men.” The authorities who are collecting DNA to build a vast database for tracking and surveillance.
Sui has brought authority, insight and humanity to coverage in a country where it can be difficult to capture the diversity with nuance. We are thrilled to announce that she will now be applying her gift to even more countries, as the new bureau chief for Southeast Asia based in Bangkok.
A business correspondent in Beijing for The Times since 2016, Sui has been a central player in some of our most ambitious China coverage in recent years. She was the first reporter at The Times to write about the virus now known as Covid-19 and was early to describe the life-and-death crisis through the divergent fates of two medical workers infected in Wuhan, part of the coverage last year that respectively won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and was a finalist for international reporting. In 2019, she was part of the team that chronicled the Chinese government’s crackdown on Uyghurs, a series that was a Pulitzer finalist for international reporting.
“Sui’s work combines investigative skill with health and business expertise and a big dose of humanity,” said Ellen Pollock, the Business editor. “It all adds up to something special and memorable for her readers.”
In Southeast Asia, Sui will oversee one of the world’s most complex regions, encompassing 11 countries and more than 655 million people. It is a homecoming for Sui, who was born and raised in Singapore. She is named, in part, after the founder of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. And she has already reported in many of the countries she will cover. Before joining The Times, Sui-Lee was a correspondent for Reuters for nine years, based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Journalism wasn’t always the dream for Sui. When she was 14, she was cast as an extra in “Forever Fever,” the first Singaporean film bought by Miramax for commercial distribution. Set in the late 1970s, the movie was about a man who became obsessed with disco after he watched “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta.
Lucky for us, she decided acting wasn’t a good fit. Sui has already started her position in Singapore and will relocate to Bangkok next year. She succeeds Hannah Beech, who will remain in Thailand in a new role as our senior Asia correspondent for enterprise and investigations across the entire region.