China nursery schools ban religion after video of girl reciting Quran surfaces

Nursery schools in the northwestern province of Gansu, China have banned religion after a video of a girl reciting the Quran surfaces online.

(Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)Suspected Uighurs from China's troubled far-western region of Xinjiang, rest inside a temporary shelter after they were detained at the immigration regional headquarters near the Thailand-Malaysia border in Hat Yai, Songkla, March 14, 2014.

Around 1.6 billion Muslims reside in the Chinese province of Gansu, and this is the third largest Muslim population in the country after Xinjiang and Ningxia. In the video titled "Cute girl reciting scriptures in Gansu," a little girl wearing a black burqa is shown reading verses from the Quran while her classmates are listening. The other students seen in the video are also wearing Muslim attires, The Free Press Journal details.

Many of the netizens who commented on the video reportedly expressed anger over what they saw. Authorities also reacted negatively on the viral clip.

In a statement, the education authority in the Muslim-rich Chinese province condemned the content of the video, saying it is harmful to the youth's mental health. The local government also gave emphasis on the Communist Party's rules against religious teachings in public schools, The Independent reports.

"This video has drawn a gasp from the public, as many people are infuriated," the education authority said. "The Education Department of Gansu province strongly condemns the act that harms the mental health of the youth, and demands education agencies of all levels to stop it resolutely and strictly bans religion from campuses," the statement continued.

Last year, the Chinese government in the Xinjiang province prohibited female Muslims from wearing burqas in public. In the same year, authorities instructed Muslim party members, students, teachers, and civil servants that they were not allowed to fast during the Ramadan.

Although China's government is basically atheist, citizens are allowed to practice certain regulated religions. However, restrictions on religious activities of the youth outside of school are strictly implemented in certain districts, especially in the western region where people practice Islam and Tibetan Buddhism. The government is wary of practices that seem to promote any culture other than its own.