On September 1, 2012, prior to the transfer of power between Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping at the pivotal 18th Party Congress, Ling was abruptly transferred from his position as General Office chief to become head of the United Front Work Department, an organ considered to be of less importance. This was seen as a demotion for Ling. At the 18th Party Congress held in the fall of 2012, Ling did not gain a seat on the Politburo as expected, nor did he retain his position as Secretary of the Secretariat; this signalled that Ling was excluded from all the major power organs of the party.[11] In March 2013, Ling was elected as one of the Vice-Chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), barely holding onto his status as a "national leader". In addition, of the 23 candidates standing for confirmation for the CPPCC Vice-Chairmanship, Ling received, by far, the fewest votes in favour. A total of 90 CPPCC delegates voted against Ling, while 22 delegates abstained.[14]


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]
To further enhance catalytic activity and durability of nanocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), we synthesized a new class of 20 nm × 2 nm ternary alloy FePtM (M = Cu, Ni) nanorods (NRs) with controlled compositions. Supported on carbon support and treated with acetic acid as well as electrochemical etching, these FePtM NRs were converte...
Controlling the physical and chemical properties of alloy nanoparticles (NPs) is an important approach to optimize NP catalysis. Unlike other tuning knobs, such as size, shape and composition, crystal structure has received limited attention and not been well understood for its role in catalysis. This deficiency is mainly due to the difficulty in s...
A facile approach to bimetallic phosphides, Co-Fe-P, via high-temperature (300 °C) reaction between Co-Fe-O nanoparticles and trioctylphosphine is presented. The growth of Co-Fe-P from the Co-Fe-O is anisotropic. As a result, Co-Fe-P nanorods (from the polyhedral Co-Fe-O nanoparticles) and sea-urchin-like Co-Fe-P (from the cubic Co-Fe-O nanoparticl...
Taming interfacial electronic effects on Pt nanoparticles modulated by their concomitants has emerged as an intriguing approach to optimize Pt catalytic performance. Here, we report Pt nanoparticles assembled on vacancy-abundant hexagonal boron nitride nanosheets and their use as a model catalyst to embrace an interfacial electronic effect on Pt in...
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