ROME, NOV. 4, 2005 (Zenit.org).- AsiaNews, an Internet news agency reporting on the Church in China and surrounding countries, is celebrating its second anniversary.
The news group, an agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, reports rapid growth of readership and collaboration with other news organizations.
Father Bernardo Cervellera, director of AsiaNews, said in a statement that the organization’s Web site receives a monthly total of 250,000 visitors.
“Our readers come from different cultures and parts of the world,” he said. “The highest percentages come from the USA, 30%; from India, 30%; and from Europe.”
He noted that others access AsiaNews from Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Lebanon, Pakistan and China.
Father Cervellera listed several secular news organizations that have cited AsiaNews: BBC, the South China Morning Post, several Italian papers, the New York Times and the Washington Times.
Catholic organizations such as National Catholic Register in the United States and Italy’s Avvenire have also cited AsiaNews.
The director reported that the news agency works on a daily basis with many organizations, including Catholic World News, ZENIT, International Christian Network, and Christians Today.
Regarding the situation of the Church in China, Father Cervellera commented that he believes AsiaNews is working “in the same direction” as Benedict XVI, citing the Pope’s recent move to invite four Chinese bishops — three of the official Church and one of the underground Church — to the Synod on the Eucharist.
The priest also he called AsiaNews “an instrument of unity for the Chinese Church.”
He said that while the government tries to block access to the site in China, many Chinese Catholics have found a way around the filters.
“Thanks to your work,” the director wrote, quoting a reader from China, “Christians of the underground Church, as well as the official Church, have found themselves faced with an authoritative source which speaks to them about the Pope, about the Church in the world, and about the persecution which the faithful are subject to, and this is uniting them even more.”
“At the same time,” he continued, “we have been told by high-ranking personalities in Beijing that members of the Communist Party — not subject to Web censorship — find our site ‘instructive’ in understanding the mentality of Catholics.”