Bishop Yang entered Fuzhou Minor Seminary at the age of 14. He was ordained priest in 1947 but spent most of his life in prison.
In 1955, Communist authorities sentenced him to life imprisonment because he was a Catholic priest. In 1981, upon his release, he was given five more years behind bars.
In 1987, he was appointed underground bishop on 8 March. A year later, he was arrested again and sentenced to three years.
Released in 1991, he was named archbishop of Fuzhou in 1995. In 2001, he was detained for 91 days on two separate occasions.
Fuzhou is one of the most troubled dioceses in China’s Catholic Church. For years, it has been split between underground and official Catholics.