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Obama brothers meet in China

From John Vause, CNN Senior International Correspondent
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Obama meets with half brother
  • President Obama visits with half-brother on Asia trip
  • Mark Obama Ndesandjo: "We just had a big hug. ... It was very, very powerful"
  • Mark Obama has claimed to have been abused by their father

(CNN) -- President Obama's four-day visit to China was aimed at building deeper ties -- and also spending time, albeit briefly, on family relationships.

In between his arrival in Beijing, China, on Monday and his informal dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao a few hours later, President Obama met with his half-brother Mark Obama Ndesandjo.

"We just had a big hug. ... It was very, very powerful and very, very intense, because he's my big brother," Mark Obama said.

Mark Obama, who has spent the past seven years living in southern China, recently wrote a semi-autobiographical book titled "Nairobi To Shenzhen."

In it, he claims that he was often physically abused by his father, Barack Obama Sr.

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  • Barack Obama
  • China

"What I wanted to do is write about my father," he said. "My father beat me. He beat my mother."

Mark Obama went on to say that oftentimes, he heard thuds coming from the living room and would "hear my mother's screams and my father shouting."

"I wanted to protect her ... but I couldn't do anything."

When asked whether the president shared experiences with their father, Mark Obama -- a pianist in China -- simply said that "we talked about family."

In an interview with CNN, President Obama said that although he has not read his half-brother's book, "it's no secret that my father was a troubled person."

Just like the president, Mark Obama was the child of a mixed marriage. Although he never knew his half-brother while growing up, the two have met from time to time as adults.

"There is always that personal connection. I honestly don't see him as the president of the United States when I am next to him," Mark Obama said.

As to how the two stay in touch, Mark Obama said that "I would rather not go into that for various reasons, but we know how to get in contact with each other if we have to."

CNN's Ed Hornick contributed to this report.