Obama to meet brother in China

November 13, 2009 12:00 am

, HONG KONG, Nov 13 – US President Barack Obama will meet his half-brother Mark Ndesandjo and his sister-in-law during his first official visit to China, the American Chamber of Commerce said Friday.

Ndesandjo and his Chinese wife set off for Beijing on Friday from their home in Shenzen — a city on the country’s southern border — to prepare for Obama’s arrival, a spokeswoman for AmCham in South China told AFP in Hong Kong.

"It will be the first time for Mark to introduce his wife to President Obama," the spokeswoman said.

Ndesandjo told China’s state-run Xinhua news agency that he wanted his wife, who is from the central eastern province of Henan, to meet the US president as "she is one of Obama’s loyal fans."

Ndesandjo, son of Obama’s late father and his third wife Ruth Nidesand, also told the agency he was delighted that the president was taking the opportunity to see China for himself during his first visit to Asia.

"I am very glad that he is coming here himself to experience Chinese culture," he was quoted as saying.

Having lived in China for seven years and speaking fluent Putonghua, Ndesandjo said at the launch of his first novel earlier this month that he hoped Obama would appreciate the importance Chinese people attach to family.

"I would encourage not only my brother President Obama, but also American people, (to understand) that China is about family. Family is always a recurrent theme here," he said in his first address to the media since Obama was elected last year.

The half-brother, who reportedly runs a business consultancy in Shenzhen, last met Obama when he visited the United States during the presidential election.

At the book launch, Ndesandjo also spoke of his relationship with his abusive father and how Obama’s election victory helped him come to terms with his unhappy childhood.

Obama’s Kenyan father and American mother separated when Obama was just two and the president has spoken about the problems children face growing up with an absent father.

Ndesandjo said he would publish his autobiography in the next few months.


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