Its population was 3,700,000 at the 2016 census whom 1,301,732 live in the built-up area made of 4 urban districts (Jiefang, Shanyang, Zhongzhan and Macun) and Bo'ai County being urbanized. Jiaozuo enjoys a humid subtropical climate with continental climate influences. Winters are cool and relatively dry while summers are hot and often rainy. Average temperature ranges from 0.3 °C in January to 27.5 °C in July. Extremes exist from -22.4 °C to 43.6 °C. Precipitation averages 659 mm.
Ling was one of the highest-profile targets (next to Zhou Yongkang and Xu Caihou) of the anti-corruption campaign following the 18th Party Congress spearheaded by Party General secretary Xi Jinping and central discipline chief Wang Qishan. He was the second sitting "national leader"-level figure to be investigated by the party's anti-graft agency, after CPPCC Vice-Chairman Su Rong. Chinese-language media have linked Ling to a mysterious political network composed of prominent politicians and businesspeople with origins in Shanxi called the Xishan Society.