He was elected as Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Academician of the Third World Academy of Sciences in 2001. He was appointed the vice-president of Nankai University from 1995 to 2001, and Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Committee in 2000. He is also a member of the Disciplinary Appraisal Panel under the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, a member of the Committee of National Natural Science Fundation of China, the Secretary-General of National Prize Committee, the Deputy Director of Chinese Chemistry Society, a member of the Presidium of Chinese Academy of Sciences, a member of the Standing Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of China Zhi Gong Party.
His research team has developed a standard method for the determination of the absolute pKa scales of organic compound in ionic liquids. He also made a lot of achievements in chiral Bronsted acid catalysis by combining experimental and theoretical strategies. Based on the obtained regular information, new catalysts were developed to realize some difficult asymmetric transformations.