Obama half-brother named Chinese "image ambassador"

Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:33am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - The half-brother of President Barack Obama has been named a "volunteer image ambassador" for the gritty southern Chinese city in which he lives, state media said on Saturday.

Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, who had the same, late, father as the U.S. president, was also given a "five-star volunteer" award in a ceremony in Shenzhen on Friday, the official Guangzhou Daily said.

The newspaper added that Ndesandjo held a concert earlier this year to raise money for victims of last year's massive earthquake in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.

Ndesandjo has kept a low public profile since reports surfaced last year that he was living and working in the southern Chinese manufacturing center of Shenzhen, around an hour's train ride from Hong Kong.

He made a rare public appearance earlier in November in the nearby city of Guangzhou to launch a novel he said drew on his painful childhood under an abusive father.

He briefly met the U.S. president in November during Obama's visit to China.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson)

<p>Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, the half-brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, speaks during an interview in Shenzhen, China's southern Guangdong province November 9, 2009. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu</p>