China Aid Association
by Bernardo Cervellera
Millions of visitors and many links with international media are the positive outcome for a small news agency, which has become an instrument of dialogue between East and West, on the frontiers of the dignity of every human being, loved by Jesus Christ.
Today, November 1, 2007 AsiaNews.it celebrates its fourth year of existence. Starting on a trial basis with four or five news items a day it has turned into an authoritative source and point of reference for issues relating to Asia and its peoples, now publishing up to 12 to 13 articles a day in three languages: Italian, English and Chinese. A monthly paper edition is also put out with a digest of its online material and much more.
In light of its ongoing commitment, AsiaNews is cited and used by many world media including al-Jazeera and The New York Times, as well as others beyond the Catholic world. Just type in AsiaNews in the Google or Yahoo! search engines and you will see. AsiaNews can now indeed claim up to 14 million pages read and 78 million hits a year.
And that is not all. According to a study by the UCAN news agency, AsiaNews is the Catholic agency most cited by Catholic websites in China along with Vatican Radio, and this despite the fact that Chinese authorities often block it. Just a few months ago I was in Beijing and a priest told me in confidence that the Chinese government knows AsiaNews “very well,” that its leaders and the Academy of Science read it “carefully.”
AsiaNews’s value for China was clear when the Pope’s Letter to Chinese Catholics was published. Many priests in the official and underground Church sent us their comments, describing their attempts at reconciliation. But persecution is still widespread; bishops are still disappearing or ending up in isolation; sanctuaries continue to be violated. This is reflected in Benedict XVI’s letter wherein the Holy Father comforts the Christians who are persecuted, calls on official bishops to show more courage, and asks the Chinese government to grant more religious freedom to the faithful and their pastors.
What is the “secret” of AsiaNews’ success? It is in following the path John Paul II laid down for the Church in the Third Millennium, namely that mankind is the life of the Church and Jesus is its path. We are interested in all Asians whatever their culture or religion, in their dignity so often humiliated by fundamentalisms and the rule of profit, and in their search for well-being and peace in a continent scarred by ecological time bombs and wars.
We are interested that these men and women know about Jesus Christ who alone can redeem every situation, free and provide progress in lieu of the prevailing stale struggles for economic, political and religious power.
For this reason AsiaNews has become a venue for those bearing witness be they Buddhist monks, Tibetans, Muslims targeted by al-Qaeda, or Montagnards whose life is worth less than trade or dolphins on the edge of extinction.
It also gives a voice to Christian witnesses, aware that the Church—as Paul VI taught—is a “teacher of humanity” and that in the Church one can find every just and universal leap forward.
For this reason we give a lot of space to understanding Islam and its problems, but especially to Benedict XVI’s Regensburg proposal as a basis for a true dialogue without violence.
The contributions from our expert Fr Samir Khalil Samir, who is appreciated by the Pontiff himself, are fundamental.
We found out with great surprise and admiration that Fr Andrea Santoro, martyr in Turkey in 2006, and Fr Ragheed Ganni, the Mosul (Iraq) priest assassinated in June in front of his church, were among our readers.
Martyrs represent hope for every people because they demonstrate that with the gift of life Christ’s love can defeat death.
A reader wrote to us: “Thank you for the work you do in AsiaNews because you show us the positive things Christians do in the world but also how much Christianity is embattled, that is you open our eyes to Jesus Christ and the reality of the world.”
In addition to thanking the Lord for these good deeds, we want to thank all those who support us with their prayers, relaying our news or sending money. Please dear friends, continue helping us so that as one of God’s smaller works we may continue to comfort the Church and the world.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]