One of the five autonomous regions of China, Inner Mongolia is located in the north of the country and borders Mongolia and Russia; it is second largest China's province by area. Inner Mongolia is rich in coal, gas, and other natural resources. Economically, Inner Mongolia is a relatively prosperous region, with a significantly higher GRP per capita than the corresponding figure for the country as a whole.
Inner Mongolia became part of China as early as in 1915 when an agreement was reached between the Russian Empire, the Chinese Republic, and the Bogdo-Khan Mongolia. In 1947 Inner Mongolia received the status of autonomy. Kin-state for the region is Mongolia, however, despite the existence of Pan-Mongolian irredentist organizations, the latter occupy a marginal position, and Mongolia officially supports China's territorial integrity.
The titular ethnic group is Mongols; it differs significantly from the predominant Han people in the PRC. The Mongols speak the language belonging to the Altai language family and also profess Buddhism of the Tibetan tradition. In addition, a significant part of the Mongols are nomadic, engaged in agriculture. The Mongols comprise only about 17% of the population of Inner Mongolia, while 70% are Han. Other ethnic groups living on the territory of the autonomy include Manchus, Hui, and Tungusic groups like Daur, Oroqen, and Evenks.
Since the early 1980's, conflicts arise between the Mongolian national organizations and the central government of the PRC. The protest movement of the Mongols, which is met with severe suppression by the central government, is a living part of the historical memory of the indigenous population. It recurs in new waves of contention. To date, the primary reasons for the conflict are forced relocation, the development of the mining industry, the construction of military bases in the region, and the discontent of the Mongols with the confiscation of agricultural land.