RELIGION

Chinese province orders religion out of school

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2011 file photo, two Chinese Hui Muslim girls read the Quran, Islam's holy book, at the Niujie Mosque as they wait for their fast on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Beijing. A heavily Muslim Chinese province has demanded strict adherence to a ban on religion in schools after a video circulated online in which a kindergartener recites verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2011 file photo, two Chinese Hui Muslim girls read the Quran, Islam's holy book, at the Niujie Mosque as they wait for their fast on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Beijing. A heavily Muslim Chinese province has demanded strict adherence to a ban on religion in schools after a video circulated online in which a kindergartener recites verses from the Quran. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

A heavily Muslim Chinese province has demanded strict adherence to a ban on religion in schools after a video circulated online in which a kindergartener recites verses from the Quran.

The provincial government in the northwestern province of Gansu reiterated the officially atheistic communist government's rules forbidding the presence of religion in public schools at all levels, saying it was protecting children.

In the video, the unidentified girl is seen wearing a Muslim head covering and sitting in a classroom with dozens of other students. The provincial government statement said it was taken in the predominantly Muslim prefecture of Linxia.

China also enforces tight restrictions on religious participation by young people outside of school, particularly in its culturally distinct western regions where Islam and Tibetan Buddhism are widely practiced.