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China: Around The Nation

Video of little girl reciting Koran prompts Chinese province to order nursery schools to enforce ban on religious activity

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 12:39pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2016, 12:39pm

A province in northwest China has ordered kindergartens to enforce a ban on religious activity on campus after a video was posted online of a little girl reciting part of the Koran at a nursery school.

The education authority in Gansu criticised the kindergarten in Linxia where the girl read the Islamic religious text, adding that it “strongly condemned the damaging act to the physical and mental health of the younger generation”.

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China’s communist government is atheist, but people are allowed to follow authorised religions under official controls.

The Gansu education authority cited the country’s constitution and education laws, which state that “religious activities shall not get in the way of education”.

“All levels of education authorities must firmly resist any religious activities entering campuses,” one person wrote.

Apart from religious institutions with government approval, schools cannot conduct religious activities or preach religion, the statement said.

“[They] shall not force or induce pupils to convert to a certain religion or establish any religious organisations in schools,” the statement added.

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The video was titled “Cute girl reciting scriptures in Gansu”, the education authority said.

Many people commenting online were angered by the video.

Gansu is home to about 1.6 million Muslims.

It has the third highest population of people holding the faith among China’s provinces and regions, behind Xinjiang and Ningxia.