Properly called the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, it’s a region of the People’s Republic of China, located in the north of the country and containing most of China’s border with Mongolia. Its capital is Hohhot, and other major cities include Baotou, Chifeng, and Ordos.
The Autonomous Region was established in 1947, incorporating the areas of the former Republic of China provinces of Suiyuan, Chahar, Rehe, Liaobei and Xing’an, along with the northern parts of Gansu and Ningxia. It is the third largest subdivision of China, spanning approximately 1,200,000 km² (463,000 sq mi) or 12% of China’s total land area. It recorded a population of 24,706,321 in the 2010 census, accounting for 1.84% of Mainland China’s total population. Inner Mongolia is the country’s 23rd most populous province-level division.
The majority of the population in the region is Han Chinese, with a sizeable titular Mongol minority. The official languages are Mandarin and Mongolian, the latter of which is written in the traditional Mongolian script, as opposed to the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet, which is used in the state of Mongolia.
Under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, articles 112-122, autonomous regions have limited autonomy in both the political and economic arena. Autonomous regions have more discretion in administering economic policy in the region in accordance with national guidelines. Structurally, the Chairman—who legally must be an ethnic minority and is usually ethnic Mongolian—is always kept in check by the Communist Party Regional Committee Secretary, who is usually from a different part of China (to reduce corruption) and Han Chinese.
The position of Chairman of Inner Mongolia alternates between Khorchin Mongols in the east and the Tumed Mongols in the west. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, this convention has not been broken. The family of Ulanhu has retained influence in regional politics ever since the founding the People’s Republic. His son Buhe and granddaughter Bu Xiaolin both served as Chairman of the region.