Ling rose to become the Director of the General Office, an organ that handles day-to-day logistics and bureaucratic functions of the Communist Party, in 2007, when Hu was the party's General Secretary (i.e., paramount leader). He was initially seen as a promising candidate for promotion to the top leadership at the 18th Party Congress in 2012. However, his political fortunes abruptly took a turn when his 23-year-old son was killed while driving a Ferrari in 2012, an event that caused embarrassment for the party elite. Ling was then politically sidelined.
Several weeks prior to the announcement of the investigation, Ling continued to make appearances on state television in his positions of CPPCC Vice Chairman and United Front chief. On December 15 Ling had penned an article on the Communist theory publication Qiushi brimming with praise for the signature political philosophies of Xi Jinping such as the "Chinese Dream". This was seen by observers as a 'last-ditch' declaration of fealty to the new Chinese leader with whom Ling was thought to have lost favour.
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