The suona is a traditional Chinese wind instrument similar to the oboe that is customarily played alongside gongs, drums, and the sheng mouth organ at weddings and funerals in rural northeastern China. In Shandong province, where the suona is sometimes known by the onomatopoeic name “wulawa,” the instrument is an integral part of traditional culture. But in Shandong’s Pingyi County, where Wang hails from, suona performances have been banned from funerals since October 2016 as part of local government reforms aiming to curb lavish, showy ceremonies.

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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