Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper named on Tuesday Mark Rowswell, a famous Canadian comedian in China whose stage name is Dashan, as Canada's Goodwill Ambassador to China.
Mark Rowswell [File photo]
According to a press release from the Prime Minister's Office, Harper, who is currently on an official visit to China, said that Rowswell has used his "extraordinary talents" for many years to "build bridges of understanding between Canada and China".
"I am pleased to name this highly recognized and respected individual as Canada's Goodwill Ambassador to China," said the prime minister.
Rowswell was born in Canada in 1965. He began studying Chinese in the mid-1980s while he was attending the University of Toronto, and continued his study in China's Beijing University.
During his study in China, he was keen on traditional Chinese performing arts. His stage name Dashan came from a character he played in a comedic skit on national television during the CCTV New Year's Gala in 1989. His fluent Chinese and performance in the skit made him a national stardom overnight.
Rowswell has become a cultural icon and celebrity in China over the past 20 years, the release said.
Today, Rowswell is involved in a wide variety of activities, from hosting television programs and live events, to dramatic acting, public speaking, publishing, education, and celebrity endorsement.
In December 2006, Rowswell became a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in uniting Canadian and Chinese peoples through laughter, understanding and goodwill. He served as Team Attache for the Canadian Oylmpic Committee at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and being appointed as Canada's Commissioner General for Expo 2010 in Shanghai.