Born in the suburbs near Baotou, Mongolia, Yang enrolled in the department of oil painting in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1978, graduated in 1982, taught at the department of stage art in the Central Academy of Drama in the same year, and was assigned to teach at the department of oil paintings in the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1984. Yang traveled to the United States, England, Italy and France to survey and acquire experiences on exhibitions. When he returned to his motherland in 1991, he continued teaching. Later he went to Sweden, Netherlands and Belgium. Yang currently is a member of the Chinese Artist's Association, professor in the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and tutor of Doctoral candidates in the Chinese Art Research Institute.