The Five Autonomous Regions of China

The Five Autonomous Regions of China.

The map of China-Five Autonomous Regions of China
The map of China

Autonomous Region,Capital,Population~~(million),Abbreviation
Ningxia Hui~~安徽省(Ānhuī Shěng),Yinchuan,6.3,宁~~Níng
Inner Mongolia~~內蒙古自治区~~(Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū),Hohhot,24.7,內蒙古~~Nèi Měnggǔ
Xinjiang Uygur~~新疆维吾尔自治区~~(Xīnjiāng Wéiwú’ěr Zìzhìqū),Ürümqi,21.8,新~~Xīn
Tibet~~西藏自治区~~(Xīzàng Zìzhìqū),Lhasa, 3,藏~~Zàng
Guangxi Zhuang~~广西壮族自治区~~(Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū),Nanning,46,桂~~Guì

Xinjiang men performing
Xinjiang men performing percussion

China has a total of 34 provincial-level administrative regions, including 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions. This article focuses on the five autonomous regions. These are the: Ningxia Hui, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Uygur, Tibet and Guangxi Zhuang.

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region


Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is located on the upper reaches of the Yellow River in northwest China. Its capital city is Yichuan. It borders three other regions (including two provinces and one autonomous region). Ningxia borders Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north, Gansu Province in the south and Shaanxi Province in the east.

The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has a total population of 6.3 million mostly made up of the Hui people. It has a large number of Muslim population and a small number of Christians, Buddhists and Taoists.

The region is divided into five prefecture-level cities. These are: Yinchuan, Shizuishan, Wuzhong, Zhongwei and Guyuan. Some of the famous tourist destinations are the Xixia Tombs and the Gaomiao Temple.

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

inner mongolia

Inner Mongolia which is located in the northern part of China is the third largest province in China. It shares borders with eight provinces. These are: Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Hebei, and Shaanxi. Mongolia also borders with the Republic of Mongolia and Russia in the north.

The total population of Inner Mongolia is 24.7 million out of which about 79% are Han Chinese. Other ethnic groups in the region include Mongol (second largest) and Manchu.

Inner Mongolia is divided into 12 prefecture-level divisions. Some of the major cities are Hohhot (capital city), Wuhai, Baotou and Chifeng.

Some tourists destinations in the region are Dazhao Temple, Xiaozhao Temple,  Wudangzhao Monastery, Wanbu Huayanjing Pagoda among others.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region


Located in the northwest of China, Xinjiang is the largest of China’s regions and provinces. It has the most neighboring countries as it borders Russia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and India.

The population of Xinjiang is about 21.8 million which comprises of a number of ethnic groups including the Uyghur, Kazakhs, Mongols, Hui, Kyrgyz, and Tajiks Han. The largest ethnic is Uyghur (45%) who are Muslims. The second largest group is Han Chinese (40%).

The capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is Ürümqi (Wulumuqi). It is divided into fourteen prefecture-level divisions. Some of the major cities are: Aksu, Changji, Bortala, Bayingolin, Hetian etc.

Xinjiang has a lot of beautiful landscapes which attract tourists. Examples are the Tianshan Mountains and Southern Pasture. There are also some notable cultural sites such as the Xinjiang Silk Road Museum, Tartar Mosque and Qinghai Mosque.

The Tibet Autonomous Region


It is the second-largest province-level division of China. The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is situated on the world’s highest plateau, the Qingzang Plateau (also known as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau). The autonomous region accounts for 12.8 percent of China’s total land area.

It borders Xinjiang to the North, Qinghai to the northeast, Sichuan to the east and Yunnan to the southeast. Countries which share borders with TAR in the south are Myanmar (Burma), India, Bhutan and Nepal.

TAR has a total population of 3million with almost 93% of the people from the Tibetan ethnic group. Other ethnicities are the Han (6%), Monpa and Hui. They speak Tibetan language (as well as Mandarin Chinese) and practice the Tibetan Buddhism.

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet. Some other notable cities include: Nyingchi, Nakchu, Shannan, Ngari, and Chamdo.

One of the main tourist attractions in the region is the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Other interesting places include Tashilhunpo Monastery, Namtso Lake, and Jokhang Temple. The tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest is located on Tibet’s border with Nepal.

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region


Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is situated in southern China. It shares borders with the following provinces: Hunan (northeast), Guangdong (southeast), Yunnan (west) and Guizhou (north). The coastal region also borders Vietnam in the southwest.

Guangxi has a population 46.8 million with majority being Han Chinese (62%). Other ethnicities are Zhuang (32%), Miao, Yao, etc. Over 90% of the Zhuang population which is China’s largest minority group live in Guangxi.

Guangxi has 14 prefectures and 109 counties. Its capital city is Nanning. Other famous cities in the region include: Yulin, Guigang, Guilin, Liuzhou, Hechi, Baise etc.

The region is characterized by spectacular landscapes, mountains and forests.  It has several tourist destinations including 3 state-level natural scenic spots and 11 state-level forest parks. Guilin and Yangshuo are the major tourist attractions in Guangxi. Some famous sites are the Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Seven-Star Park, Li River, etc.