Professor Yang is the director of the Institute for Central Asian Studies. He is also an executive member of council for the China National Association for International Studies, executive member of council for the Chinese Society of Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, and an education expert employed by the Ministry of Education for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. His research interests include Central Asian studies, anti-separatism, counter-terrorism, geopolitics, and international relations theory. Previously, he was a lecturer in the Department of Geology and Geography of Lanzhou University. He was second secretary in the Embassy of the PRC to the USSR. from 1988 to 1991. He then returned to Lanzhou University to serve as the director of the Foreign Affairs Office and serve as vice president of Lanzhou University from 1997 to 2007. Professor Yang holds a master’s degree from the Department of Geology and Geography of Lanzhou University.