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He was raised to the Prince of Hedong (河東王) in 222, and to the Prince of Guantao (館陶王) in 225. Being of coarse, rough and violent character, it is said that he used to beat his concubines and maid-servants and sometimes killed some of them.
Later he was saised to the Prince of Donghai (東海定王) by emperor Cao Rui, the brother of his.
When he died in 250, his son Cao Qi (曹啓)(?-?) inherited him and became the Prince of Donghai.
In 255, Sima Shi disposed the emperor Cao Fang and wanted to make Cao Pi's brother Cao Ju (曹據) a new emperor. However Empress Dowager Guo (?-263) managed to persuade Sima Shi that such a succession would be improper, since Cao Ju was the uncle of her husband Cao Rui.
After all Cao Lin's another son Cao Mao (241-260) ascended the throne in 255.