Born and raised in Canada, Mark Rowswell began studying Chinese in the mid 1980s, first at the University of Toronto and later at Beijing University. Shortly after arriving in Beijing, a chance opportunity to appear on television unexpectedly gave him national exposure under the stage name “Dashan” and an entrance into the world of xiangsheng, a traditional form of Chinese comedic dialogue. Repeated appearances on programs with audiences in the hundreds of millions gradually turned Dashan into a household name across China and a cultural icon as “a foreigner but not an outsider.”

As an active participant in the Chinese media landscape, he has had a front-row seat to witness the massive changes in Chinese society over the past twenty-five years. His media work has included comedic performance, television hosting, dramatic acting, educational programming, commercial endorsement, and a broad range of cultural exchange.

Rowswell was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2006, served as Canada’s Commissioner General to Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and was named “Canada’s Goodwill Ambassador to China” by Prime Minister Steven Harper in 2012.

Last Updated: May 2, 2014

Sinica Podcast


David Moser Interviews Mark Rowswell

David Moser & Mark Rowswell from Sinica Podcast
If you are a long-timer in China, this is a show that needs no introduction. One of the most famous foreigners in China, Mark Rowswell (a.k.a. Dashan), shot to fame in the early 1990s after a fortuitous break on Chinese television. In this live...