Ningxia /nɪŋˈʃɑː/[5] (Chinese: 宁夏, Mandarin pronunciation: [nǐŋ.ɕjâ]; alternately romanized as Ninghsia), officially the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR), is a landlocked autonomous region in the northwest of the People's Republic of China. Formerly a province, Ningxia was incorporated into Gansu in 1954 but was separated from Gansu in 1958 and was reconstituted as an autonomous region for the Hui people, one of the 56 officially recognised nationalities of China. Twenty percent of China's Hui population lives in Ningxia.[6]

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
Name transcription(s)
  Chinese宁夏回族自治区 (Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū)
  AbbreviationNX / (pinyin: Níng)
Views of Yellow River passing through Shapotou
Map showing the location of the
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Ning-Sha (Ning-Zeah))
Named for níng—tranquil
xiàWestern Xia
"Tranquil Xia"
(and largest city)
Divisions5 prefectures, 21 counties, 219 townships
  TypeAutonomous region
  BodyNingxia Hui Autonomous Regional People's Congress
  CCP SecretaryChen Run'er
  Congress chairmanChen Run'er
  Gov't ChairwomanXian Hui
  CPPCC chairmanCui Bo
  Total66,399.73 km2 (25,637.08 sq mi)
Area rank27th
Highest elevation3,556 m (11,667 ft)
  Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
  Density rank25th
  Ethnic compositionHan: 62%
Hui: 38%
  Languages and dialectsLanyin Mandarin, Zhongyuan Mandarin
ISO 3166 codeCN-NX
GDP (2020)CNY 392 billion
USD 56.84 billion (29th)[3]
 - per capitaCNY 54,432
USD 7,889 (21st)
 • growth 3.9%
HDI (2018)0.745[4] (high) (22nd)
"Níngxià" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese宁夏
Traditional Chinese寧夏
Hanyu PinyinNíngxià
Literal meaning"Pacified Xià"
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
Simplified Chinese宁夏回族自治区
Traditional Chinese寧夏回族自治區
Xiao'erjingنِئٍ‌ثِيَا خُوِزُو زِجِ‌ٿِيُوِ
Hanyu PinyinNíngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū
PostalNingsia Hui Autonomous Region

Ningxia is bounded by Shaanxi to the east, Gansu to the south and west and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the north and has an area of around 66,400 square kilometres (25,600 sq mi).[1] This sparsely settled, mostly desert region lies partially on the Loess Plateau and in the vast plain of the Yellow River and features the Great Wall of China along its northeastern boundary. Over about 2000 years an extensive system of canals (The total length about 1397 kilometers[7]) has been built from Qin dynasty. Extensive land reclamation and irrigation projects have made increased cultivation possible. The arid region of Xihaigu, which covers large parts of the province, suffers from severe water shortage, which the canals were intended to alleviate.[8]

Ningxia was the core area of the Western Xia in the 11th-13th century, established by the Tangut people; its name, "Peaceful Xia", derived from the Mongol conquest of the state.[9] The Tanguts made significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, particularly invented Tangut script. Long one of the country's poorest areas, a small winemaking industry has become economically important since the 1980s. Before the arrival of viticulture, Ningxia's 6.8 million people, 36 per cent of whom are Muslims from the Hui ethnic group, relied largely on animal grazing, subsistence agriculture and the cultivation of wolfberries used in traditional Chinese medicine. Since then, winemaking has become the premier calling card of Ningxia. The province housed almost 40,000 hectares of wine grapes and produced 120 million wine bottles in 2017 – a quarter of the entire nation's production.[10]