by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
Asia is awakening to the Web; indeed, Asians are global leaders in some aspects of Internet technology.
While the Internet was begun in, by, and for the U.S., it is rapidly becoming a global resource. This is true for the content of the Web, the location of Web sites, and the users. International Data Corp. (IDC) estimates that 60% of the online population now lives outside the U.S.A.
Asia is awakening to the Web; indeed, Asians are global leaders in some aspects of Internet technology. As a result of strong government initiatives, the online population in China jumped from 1.5 million to 8.9 million during 1999 alone. Goldman Sachs predicts Net usage in China will soar to 81 million by yearend 2003.
Meanwhile, church and mission efforts are growing rapidly in many areas of Asia. So it is no surprise that the Web provides valuable resources for Asian missions today.
This edition of "Missions on the Web" focuses on information and resources of value to missions working in Asia, with a special emphasis on China. The links described herein can be found on the Web at the MisLinks site (www.gmi.org/mislinks or www.wheaton.edu/Missions/ Mislinks). Our "Links to Asia" page is one in a series of continent pages being developed in MisLinks. It is grouped into four columns: Missions/ Christianity, Country/Context, People Groups, and News.
Missions/Christianity. To get an initial feel for how much information the Web contains about a specific topic, one could use a general search engine such as AltaVista and see how many sites are found. Searching for the combination of "Asia" and "missions" (in AltaVista, enter "+Asia +missions" without the quotes) finds 4,125 hits. Asia and Christianity results in over 3,000 hits.
An intelligent (human catalogued) Web directory such as Northern Light (www.northernlight.com) is also useful. For instance, begin by typing in a search topic, such as "Asia missions," and Northern Light will suggest various categories to refine your search. Choosing the "Christianity" category leads to over 8,000 sites dealing with Christian missions (versus government missions, space missions, etc.) in Asia and offers more sub-categories, such as Special Collection documents, Missiology, Evangelical Christians, Pentecostalism, and Book Reviews. For a more in-depth look at Asian missions, don’t overlook Northern Light’s Special Collection documents; the above search turned up 362 articles dealing with the topic.
One of the best Christian Web sites in Asia is the Antioch.com (www.antioch.com.sg/) site in Singapore. "Antioch city" is a wonderful online meeting place for Christians, divided into five main areas. Of special interest is "Town Chapel" describing churches in the Asia Pacific region and "Market Place" listing Christian organizations, including a directory of links to the Web sites of mission agencies working in the region.
The Christian Center for Asian Studies (ccas.peacenet.or.kr/) "facilitates the building of ecumenical solidarity and partnerships." This Korean-based site provides a variety of links to resources dealing with Christian communications, theology, NGOs and news.
The OMF Web site (www.omf.org.uk/index.asp) provides a quality collection of information and links, including descriptions of the countries of East Asia, people groups, religions, and other links. OMF features a special section about China on their Web site.
Speaking of China, the new Web site for ChinaSource (www.chsource.org) looks like a real winner, pointing to major news sources, Christian resources and ministry opportunities. Also of interest is The Amity Foundation (is6.pacific.net.hk/~amityoco/home.htm). This is an independent Chinese voluntary organization, founded in Hong Kong in 1985 by Chinese Christians to promote health, education, social services and rural development from China’s coastal provinces in the east to the minority peoples of the west.
Country/contextual Information. To get a country-level overview of a particular country (from a U.S. government perspective), you might start with the online World FactBook (www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/country.html). More extensive information about national governments in Asia is available at www.gksoft.com/govt/en/asia.html
The Asian section of the Librarian’s Index to the Internet (lii.org/search) connects you to some of the best sites about Asia.
The Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library (coombs.anu.edu.au/WWWVL -AsianStudies.html) is an outstanding global collaborative project. It provides an authoritative, continuously updated hypertext guide and access tool to scholarly information resources on the Internet. It deals with the Asian continent as a whole, as well as with individual Asian regions, countries, and territories.
For example, those with a special interest in South Asia can obtain lots of useful information at SARAI (South Asia Resource Access on the Internet). SARAI (www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/indiv/area/sarai/) has been selected by scholars as "one of the best sites on the Internet for education in the humanities." It provides links to Libraries, Reference Tools, & Bibliographic Resources on South Asia; Electronic Journals and Newspapers on South Asia; and a vast collection of South Asia Resources organized by Country, by Organization and by Topic.
Content on the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library is edited by volunteer "virtual librarians" whose task is to maintain accurate, comprehensive, current, and annotated catalogs of online resources selected on the strength of their reliability, authority, and usefulness to inquiry and analysis regarding Asian societies, politics, economies, histories, and cultures. It includes archives, library catalogues, documents, bibliographies, electronic-journal registers, and mailing lists. It also provides a long list of Simple Search Engines for Asia Databases organized by country (www.ciolek.com/SearchEngines.html).
Available by subscription is the vast Bibliography of Asian Studies Online (www.aasianst.org/bassub.htm), which lists itself as "The single most important record of research and scholarly literature on Asia written in Western languages. …"
To search for information about China, start with ChinaSite.com: The Complete Reference to China/Chinese-Related Web Sites (207.152.99. 199/). Updated almost daily, this site has more than 6,000 links to China/ Chinese-related Web sites with an average of 134,000 hits a day.
Then go to the Chinese Studies WWW Virtual Library at www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/asian/chihp.html, an extensive collection of Internet resources in major categories that include: Classics; Culture; Dictionaries & Bibliographies; Economics & Business; Education; E-journals; Geography, Maps & Travel; History; Hong Kong; Language & Linguistics; Law; Literature; News / Newspapers; Online Libraries; Performance Arts; Philosophy; Politics; Population; Religions; Science & Technology; Social Sciences; Statistics; and Taiwan.
The China-WWW Virtual Library (sun.sino.uni-heidelberg.de/igcs/index.html) covers a variety of information resources, classified by subject, including, among others, Philosophy/Religion, History, Geography and Language, as well as a Bibliography on the People’s Republic of China.
People groups. Asia is home to over 1,850 ethno-linguistic people groups, 994 of which are considered to be among the world’s "least evangelized." To see a listing of Asian languages, go to SIL’s Ethnologue site for Asia (www.sil.org/ethnologue/ countries/asia.html).
A number of evangelical mission sites provide descriptions of Asian unreached people groups. Bethany World Prayer Center’s Unreached Peoples Prayer Profiles (www. bethany.com/profiles/profilel.html) offers overviews of hundreds of Asian groups, listed by country. Asia Minorities Outreach (www.antioch.com.sg/ mission/asianmo/profiles.html) has profiles on the peoples of China, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, India, Myanmar (Burma), and Nepal. AD2000’s Joshua Project 2000 site has Unreached Peoples Lists by country and by Affinity Bloc at www. ad2000.org/peoples/ Also check out the Asia/Pacific People Profiles on the Christian & Missionary Alliance site (www.cmalliance.org/missions/upgs/up-all.htm#asia).
The WWW Virtual Library: Indigenous Studies site (www.cwis.org/wwwvl/indig-vl.html#asia) provides links to a wide variety of information about Asian peoples.
News. Yahoo! provides constant news headlines at sg.dailynews. yahoo.com/headlines/asia/with links to many other of the best news sources from Asia. Channel NewsAsia (news, channelnewsasia.com/) provides full up-to-the-minute news coverage on Asia and the world on topics ranging from politics, finance, business, and technology to sports and entertainment. Asia Inc. Online (www.asia-inc.com) is a nice online magazine. Asia Observer (www. asiaobserver.com) provides news, background information and useful links. Asia Times online (atimes.com) is a daily publication covering the Asia Pacific region with an emphasis on politics, economics and business; articles include exclusive editorials and columns, as well as links to a wide range of other publications. We should also mention BBC Asia Pacific (news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/ asia-pacific/) and CNN Asia Pacific (www.cnn.com /ASIANOW/).
In relation to China, Sinopolis (www.sinopolis.com) and Inside China (www.insidechina.com/) both provide very readable news coverage, and South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com) provides excellent news.
Acknowledgement: We are indebted to mission researcher Valerie Lim in Singapore, who contributed greatly to this article. Valerie is an Associate of Global Mapping International and assists mission leaders with maps and other resources on East Asia.
EMQ, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 500-503. Copyright © 2000 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.