In June 1975, Ling was admitted into the Communist Youth League (CYL) organization in Pinglu County, and was soon elevated to deputy secretary of the local CYL committee. He joined the Communist Party of China in June 1976. In December 1978, Ling was transferred to Communist Party's Yuncheng Committee in Shanxi. In 1979, Communist Youth League's central organization selected young cadres nationwide to work in the capital. Ling, at the age of 23, was recruited to work in the propaganda department of CYL Central Committee.
Jiaozuo is noted for its blast furnaces and machine construction industries. The total GDP of the city in 2017 was 234.28 billion yuan, an increase of 7.4% over the previous year. Among them, the added value of the primary industry was 13.733 billion yuan, up 4.6%; the added value of the secondary industry was 13.841 billion yuan, up 6.7%; the added value of the tertiary industry was 81.143 billion yuan, up 9.1%. The per capita GDP reached 65,936 yuan. The three industrial structures changed from 6.4:59.3:34.3 of 2016 to 5.9:59.5:34.6.link