^ Nicholas D. Kristof (January 5, 2013). "Looking for a Jump-Start in China" (opinion). The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2013. Ling feared a scandal and reportedly began a cover-up. He went to the morgue, according to the account I got from one Chinese official, and looked at the body — and then coldly denied that it was his son. He continued to work in the following weeks as if nothing had happened.
The recent reforms are not the first time the suona has been subject to the twists and turns of public policy. In the early days after the Communist victory in 1949, Wang’s family band played the suona not only at weddings and funerals but also at state ceremonies for sending recruits off to military service or starting construction on reservoir projects. Suona music was the soundtrack to every important moment. But during the Great Chinese Famine, no one could afford to hire musicians, and the suona was later blacklisted as part of Cultural Revolution campaigns against Confucian heritage. It wasn’t until the reform and opening-up era in the ’80s that the suona was restored to its central role in northeastern culture.

Categories: 1956 birthsLiving peoplePeople's Republic of China politicians from ShanxiCommunist Party of China politicians from ShanxiPoliticians from YunchengMembers of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of ChinaVice Chairpersons of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative ConferenceExpelled members of the Chinese Communist PartyMembers of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of ChinaMembers of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of ChinaAlternate members of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of ChinaChinese politicians convicted of corruption


Chinese is an imperial language that has always loaned more than it borrowed. In the Max Planck Institute’s World Loanword Database, Mandarin Chinese has the lowest percentage of borrowings of all 41 languages studied, only 2 percent. (English, with one of the highest, has 42 percent.) In part because of the difficulty of translating alphabet-based languages into Chinese characters, it’s common to see what are called “calques”—nonphonetic literal translations like “re gou” for “hot dog” or “zhi zhu ren” for “Spiderman.” Despite (or because of) the vast appetite among the Chinese for learning English as a foreign language, Chinese ministers have recently cracked down on loanwords. And yet Chinese people still say “baibai” and “sorry”; “e-mail” is just a lot easier than “dianzi youjian,” the official substitute.

Finally, at 15, Wang’s grandfather allowed him to start his suona training. In addition to practicing on the instrument, every day, he was to blow through a hollow reed into a basin of water to improve his breathing technique. At first, he couldn’t even make bubbles. After a year of practicing for hours each day, his grandfather gave him his first performance opportunity — but stage fright got the best of him.


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.

In the latter half of 2014, members of the Ling family were successively detained by the authorities (see "Family" section below). Moreover, an unprecedented number of high-ranking officials in Ling's native Shanxi province were investigated for corruption and removed from office. Rumours circulated about Ling's own fate. Ling was officially placed under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (party's anti-graft agency) on December 22, 2014, and dismissed from his position as United Front Work Department head about a week later.[2] The CPPCC then removed him from the office of Vice-Chairman in February 2015, in addition to stripping him of his ordinary CPPCC delegate status.[15]
Throughout Hu Jintao's leadership, Ling accompanied Hu on trips abroad and was often seen with Hu on inspection visits around the country. As one of Hu Jintao's closest associates and most trusted advisors, in addition to being of an appropriate level of seniority, Ling seemed long destined for higher office. Ling's political fortunes, however, took an abrupt turn in 2012. On March 18, Ling's only son, then 23-Year old Ling Gu, was involved and killed in a car crash on Beijing's 4th Ring Road while driving a black[1] Ferrari 458 Spider accompanied by two women, reportedly of minority ethnic background, who survived.[5] Ling Gu was said to have been found naked, and the women were described as either naked or otherwise "scantily clad," which seemed to suggest sexual activity while driving.[6] While this account was later disputed, the widely discussed "Ferrari crash" was juicy tabloid fodder and exacerbated public cynicism over the debauchery and conspicuous consumption often associated with children of the Communist ruling elite.[7]
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.[16] 

Born Linghu Jihua, Ling was the third son to Linghu Ye (令狐野), a party official, in Pinglu County, Shanxi Province. He and all four of his siblings received names related to the Communist Party's policies. His own name, Jihua, means "planning". In December 1973, as with many other young Chinese, he was sent to work in the countryside as part of the Down to the Countryside Movement. Ling worked in a printing factory.[4] "Linghu" is a very rare surname, eventually most members of the Ling family shortened the "Linghu" to "Ling".

On July 20, 2015, Ling was expelled from the Communist Party of China,[17] and was arrested to face criminal proceedings.[18] Ling's case received significant media attention, since he was the most prominent political figure expelled from the party since criminal proceedings were initiated against former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang. In the party's disciplinary dossier against Ling, he was accused of "violating political discipline, violating political rules, violating organizational discipline, and violating confidentiality discipline." He was further accused of taking in large bribes, aiding in the business interests of his wife, sexual misconduct with "numerous women", and illegally obtaining party and state secrets.[19]


Finally, at 15, Wang’s grandfather allowed him to start his suona training. In addition to practicing on the instrument, every day, he was to blow through a hollow reed into a basin of water to improve his breathing technique. At first, he couldn’t even make bubbles. After a year of practicing for hours each day, his grandfather gave him his first performance opportunity — but stage fright got the best of him.
Yet some young villagers share the government’s objections to suona funeral performances. To 27-year-old Dong Chengcheng, the funeral reforms are a positive step toward easing the burden on younger generations. “Although the price for booking a suona band is not such a big deal, it still costs money,” he explains. With each funeral typically requiring three days of ceremonies and banquets, the expenses add up — especially as family planning policies have left today’s young people with fewer siblings to share the costs.
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.[16]
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