12/04/2006, 00.00
ASIA
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The new face of AsiaNews: its mission, your help

by Bernardo Cervellera

Starting today AsiaNews has a new face with many new services which we will learn about over time. The renewal falls on the third anniversary of AsiaNews.it. Yesterday in fact, December 3, Feast Day of St Xavier, patron saint of missions, AsiaNews.it celebrated its third year in operation. On that day, its English and Chinese pages went on line (the Italian pages had been ready for a month) beginning what we dare say is a vibrant miracle that is only in a small part our work. The monthly paper version of AsiaNews had existed for 20 years, founded by fr. Piero Gheddo. The site was meant to spread news about Asia more quickly and raise issues media-wise that were relevant to us Christians.

The farsightedness of PIME superiors was thus rewarded. Currently, AsiaNews.it is hit some seven million times a month with four million pages consulted. This corresponds to half a million readers. Many other media, ranging from the BBC and The Voice of America to TéléLiban and Radio Maria, pick up our reports, transcending ideological barriers of left vs right, conservative vs progressive, secular vs clerical.

It is thanks to AsiaNews that China is no longer seen as an Eldorado for its cheap labour, but also as a place where man’s dignity is offended, where Catholic bishops and Tibetan monks disappear according the worst traditions of South American dictatorships. It is also thanks to AsiaNews that the lives and deaths of Christians suffering under the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism in places like Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq challenge the Western world whose economically motivated and self-interested do-goodery has suppressed what is left of its Christian roots making it turn a blind eye to the problems with Islam. With our work we have become the voice of the Churches of Asia, but also a friendly voice for many Muslims, Hindus, Ahmadis, Tibetans, Turks who do not want to see their dignity violated by those in power, who look at the Church of Benedict XVI with high regard and love for the truth. Even in the middle of the tensions caused by the manipulation of the Pope’s Regensburg speech, some Muslims have communicated with AsiaNews to express their good opinion for the Pope and the Catholic Church, overcoming any instrumental use made of the Pope’s remarks by fundamentalism and Western secularism.

This great labour of evangelisation is above all the work of God to whom we provide but a small helping hand. But it is also your work, dear readers of both the paper and electronic versions. We are not ashamed to say that without your material help and prayers we could not go on. We have said time and time again: We do not want to “sell” our information; we want to spread. For this reason, we call on you to help us with a contribution which you can send via a postgiro account or bank money order (see section “Help AsiaNews”, top right corner). Because of this we can give more freedom to bishops in China, guarantee support for churches in Iraq, Indonesia and Malaysia, and build greater brotherhood in Asia and around the world.

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