Yang Qin was born in Shanghai, China in 1955. When he was only 18, he, along with 20 million other youths, was sent to the countryside as part of the Cultural Revolution in China. This was done in order to "reeducate" them and teach them what life was like in the country. These youths were called zhiqing. For five years, Yang Qin worked in the countryside of Guangyuan County, Sichuan ( 四川省 廣元 縣, modern-day Guangyuan City) alongside other zhiqing and farmers. This experience profoundly shaped his later life and instilled in him the importance of helping and supporting one another. After the college entrance exams reopened, he was admitted to Sichuan University in China in 1978. After obtaining a bachelor's in chemistry, he was assigned a job working at the Chemical Ministry of China. After working for a number of years, Yang Qin applied for graduate school and was accepted at the University of Houston. In 1990, he left China for the U.S. and five years later received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Yang Qin currently lives in Houston with his wife and two daughters and, as of 2014, is working at Air Liquide America Specialty Gases in La Porte, Texas as Chief Chemist. He has written stories for a book about his zhiqing experience, titled Zhiqing: Stories from China's Special Generation that is scheduled to be published in June 2014. He has also been involved in the Houston Zhiqing Association, serving as its president for one year, as well as in the Overseas Chinese Education Foundation, where his role is currently to mentor and lead Chinese American youths in giving back to local, disadvantaged public schools.