Implementation of the ethnic regional autonomy system has led
the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to witness dramatic social and
economic change over the past six decades, said Chu Bo, secretary
of the region's committee of the Communist Party of China.
The autonomous region was founded on May 1, 1947.
Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the people
of this ethnic autonomous region have come together to build a
future of all-round prosperity.
Sixty years ago, Inner Mongolia was an underdeveloped area with
extremely low levels of social and economic development, said Chu.
Its annual gross domestic product (GDP) at the time was only 540
Agriculture and related pursuits, especially animal husbandry,
were the pillars of its economy, with annual grain production
standing at a mere 1.85 million tons and animal output at 9.32
The region's manufacturing industry at the time comprised only
687 small factories and mills. Most of the daily necessities of
residents, including clothes and farming equipment, had to be
supplied by the rest of the country.
There were only about 30 middle schools and a few primary
schools 60 years ago, and 90 percent of the population of Inner
Mongolia was illiterate.
After the autonomous region was founded, Inner Mongolia's
economy immediately stepped on to a track of fast growth, according
Five years later, the region's agricultural and industrial
output value, grain production and the number of animals increased
by 120 percent, 88.9 percent and 72.2 percent respectively.
The following five years saw further growth in industrial and
agricultural output values, and railway and highway lengths, with
growth rates standing at 290 percent, 14.2 percent, 52.7 percent
and 170 percent respectively.
The region's economy, however, suffered a setback during the
"cultural revolution" (1966-1976).
Then, when the country began to implement reform and opening-up
programs in 1978, Inner Mongolia entered a golden period of
In 1988, the region's GDP doubled 1980 figures, and in 1995, the
GDP had quadrupled that in 1980.
During the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05), the region maintained
an economic growth rate higher than the national average and for
four consecutive years since 2003, it has ranked first in the
nation in terms of such growth rate.
In 2006, Inner Mongolia's GDP reached 479 billion yuan, ranking
17th in the country, compared with 24th in 2000. Its per capita GDP
was 20,047 yuan, ranking 10th nationwide, compared with 16th in
Along with economic growth, the autonomous region has also seen
improvements in ecology and infrastructure in the past 10 years,
Since 1998, under the support of the State, the region has
launched a number of ecological construction projects, ranging from
natural forest protection, desert control and returning farmlands
to forests and grasslands.
By the end of 2005, Inner Mongolia had invested a total of 17.3
billion yuan in ecological improvement.
By the end of last year, the region's forest area reached 20.5
million hectares, an increase of 1.2 times compared with that in
1947, while forest coverage increased to 17.6 percent from 7.7
percent in 1947.
At present, Inner Mongolia has 190 nature reserves, with a total
area of 13.2 million hectares, including 21 State-level reserves
that cover an area of 3.33 million hectares.
With respect to infrastructure construction, the region's
railway and highway lengths hit 8,058 km and 83,000 km respectively
by the end of 2006. It now has 10 airports. Its well-developed
irrigation system serves 2.78 million hectares of farmland. In
addition, the number of fixed and mobile phone users have reached
14.15 million, while Internet users number 1.45 million.
As the region's strong sectors, the husbandry product
processing, energy and metallurgy industries have maintained rapid
growth in recent years, Chu said.
During the 10th Five-Year Plan, milk output in the region
increased from 798,000 tons to 6.91 million tons, and output of
meats grew from 1.43 million tons to 2.3 million tons. At present,
Yili Group and Mengniu Group are the two leading diary producers in
During the same period, the region's coal production increased
from 72.47 million tons to 256.08 million tons and power generation
volume grew from 43.92 billion kilowatt-hours to 107 billion
The region's steel output also increased from 4.24 million tons
to 8.06 million tons in the same period.
Along with steady economic growth, the autonomous region has
seen all-round progress in its social undertakings as well, said
In the field of education, the autonomous region had 36
institutions of higher learning, 359 senior middle schools, 1,199
junior middle schools and 4,884 primary schools by the end of last
year. At present, almost all children of school-going age can enjoy
primary and junior middle school education. In addition, about 2.08
million school-age children from rural or low-income urban families
can avail of education free of charge.
The autonomous region has also established a wide-ranging public
healthcare system, with 3,693 healthcare institutions in both rural
and urban areas. In addition, 39 banners or counties in the region
have established a cooperative medical care system for rural
residents, comprising a cooperative fund supported by the
government and the residents themselves, which offers financial
assistance to 6.63 million people when they receive medical
Inner Mongolia has also established a social security system,
including pension for retired workers, medical insurance and
minimal living standard guarantee. At present, 3.57 million people
are covered by the pension system, 3.16 million people are covered
by the basic medical insurance system and 1.15 million people enjoy
minimal living standard guarantee.
(China Daily July 20, 2007)