Yanqing Chang, environmental technologist from China
Yanqing Chang is passionate about modern environmental protection technologies – preferably those made in Germany. He works for one of China’s largest waste disposal companies and enjoys coming to Germany. On behalf of three provinces in China and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, GIZ has already brought around 1,000 Chinese experts together with companies in North Rhine-Westphalia – and everyone is benefitting.
Why are you, as an environmental technologist, so interested in Germany, and particularly North Rhine-Westphalia?
North Rhine-Westphalia and the Chinese provinces in which I work have a lot in common: they’re densely populated and generate large quantities of waste. In China, we’ve always had – and continue to have – massive problems disposing of our waste, but Germany was technologically ahead of the field even back in the 1990s.
You live and work in China but you’re often in Germany on business trips. What differences strike you between the two cultures?
There are major differences in mind-set. Here in Germany, everyone is extremely punctual, whereas we take a more relaxed view of the timing of meetings in China. And in negotiations, the Germans make very quick decisions – a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – while for the Chinese, it’s more a question of ‘perhaps’ or ‘we can think about that’. I’ve learned to cope with that now.
What does your work mean to you and to the Chinese people?
I see my role as bringing what I’ve learned in Germany to China. I’d love us in China to be able to solve our waste problems using modern technology. When people in China are able to breathe clean air and drink clean water, I’ll have fulfilled my dream.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I was fascinated by music and then by sport, especially table tennis and basketball. But really, I always wanted to be a scientist, to tinker around with electronics and technology. In fact, technology’s always been my hobby and my passion.
What will you do when you retire?
I’ll take holidays with my family, since right now I’m working on many projects and I work very long hours. But I’ll never turn my back on environmental protection altogether: I have a son and I always hoped he would study environmental technologies too. He now has a job in the environmental sector in Beijing – I’m very proud. And if my grandchildren also take an interest in environmental protection – well, what more could I ask?
Chang’s home province in China has set ambitious climate and environmental protection goals – much to discuss at North Rhine-Westphalia’s environment ministry.
Yanqing Chang is a born networker. He’s hardly missed a single GIZ alumni event so far. Photos: Andi Kassier
The Chinese delegation enjoys lunch in Düsseldorf’s China Center. Chang himself loves traditional German cooking, though.
Chang spent a year in Germany; he now knows what makes the Germans tick, and that’s already opened up some interesting business opportunities.
The continuing training programme enabled Chang to learn German for several months. His language skills are a huge asset in exchanges with German experts.
Chang’s already made a number of visits to Kamp-Lintfort’s Asdonkshof waste processing site and is keen for China to use German waste disposal technology.
‘I just love passing on my knowledge,’ says the Chinese environmental technologist. He initiated the delegation that visited North Rhine-Westphalia in September 2013.
The Chinese technology enthusiast says ‘I want to use modern environmental technology to help make life better for everyone.’
See you again soon! Chang comes to Germany up to four times a year, and every visit brings him closer to achieving his goal.