Lin completed a degree at Guangdong University of Technology in 1981 and joined the Chinese Communist Party. Lin then worked as a technician, planners and managers of various organization in Heping District. In 1983 he was appointed deputy mayor of Huizhou. Later, he became director of the Guangdong Provincial Planning Commission. 1996 to 2002 he was mayor of Guangzhou. Subsequently, he was until 2006 party secretary of the city.
From 2006 to 2010 he held, first official leader, the Office of the Governor of Guizhou Province. His successor in that office was Zhao Kezhi.
Since 2010 he has been Deputy Chairman of the Subcommittee on citizens from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and overseas Chinese 's Political Consultative Conference of the Chinese People.
Lin was from 2002 to 2007 and is a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China since 2007.