THERE’S NOTHING LIKE visiting Finland to make an English-speaker appreciate the value of words borrowed from other languages. Finnish, as I learned during a trip earlier this month, is an agglutinative language, in which parts of words stay distinct instead of fusing together. This makes for very long words, like “kahdenneksikymmenenneksiyhdeksänneksi” (one way to say “29,” according to my guidebook), and considerable bewilderment for a visitor. To me, it might as well have been Klingon, only with more umlauts. Every now and then, though, a light would shine through the darkness: I’d catch something like “hot jooga” or “muffensi” or “grill maisteri,” and sigh with relief.
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.