- (a.k.a Mark Rowswell)b. 1965, Ottawa, CanadaXiaopin actorMark Rowswell graduated from the University of Toronto in 1988, and came to Beijing University for a three-year Chinese language and literature programme. Having worked briefly in the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, he started his Canadian business in 1995 to promote cultural and economic exchanges between China and Canada.At the 1989 New Year Celebration National Television show that claimed millions of Chinese viewers, Rowswell played a young man named Xu Dashan in a xiaopin (skit) entitled Yegui (Back at Night). His near-perfect Mandarin and his charming personality left such an indelible impression upon the Chinese that they began to call him ‘Dashan’, without bothering to know his real name. Since then, he has become a beloved celebrity; his fans spanning from taxi drivers in Beijing to restaurant servers in Tibet. Today, Dashan is seen by hundreds of millions of Chinese with his television specials and through his weekly national radio programme that introduces Canadian music to the Chinese. He is married with a child, his wife being Chinese. Good-humouredly, he introduced himself as a Canadian ‘hardware’ with Chinese ‘software’.Following the steps of Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor who died helping the Chinese fight the Japanese invasion during WWII, Dashan has become a bridge between the Chinese and the Westerners by embracing one of their most respected art forms and accepting their culture. He is ‘the living proof that China and the West can find a middle ground’.YUAN HAIWANG
Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Compiled by EdwART. 2011.