President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has since put on another face from the one full of fire and ire, furiously waving the banner of justice and trying to purge the party of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), which sent shock waves through the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The new face is one of innocence and of having been wronged, while insisting that his family are behind him. The problem with this is that the majority of his family are overseas Chinese, and Chinese mothers are notoriously protective of their own children.
It matters little how often their child screws up, the problems they cause are always someone else’s fault. Of course the president’s own mother would defend him: That comes as no surprise. First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) is no traditionally subservient wife, she would rather fly solo to London that accompany her husband on an official trip to Central and South America, but it goes without saying that she would support her husband in his criticisms of Wang.
One of Ma Ying-jeou sisters, Ma Yi-nan (馬以南), loathe to remain out of the limelight, took a trip to New York to “visit family,” and lathered abuse on Wang in the name of other members of the overseas Chinese community there, saying that she was not alone in her umbrage and that her fellow expatriates wanted to strongly criticize Wang, while KMT legislators back in Taipei were just sitting on their hands. She sent a text message to seven KMT legislators, lobbying them to support the president.
Such attempts to exert influence are not new for Ma Yi-nan. She has been involved in a string of controversies over the course of her life, and this latest attempt to pressure pro-Ma Ying-jeou KMT legislators just goes to highlight two things. First, that she was being economical with the truth when she said overseas Chinese were excoriating Wang. And second, that people do not empathize with Ma Ying-jeou: Even his supporters within the legislature have to be goaded into speaking up for him.
The truth is that overseas Taiwanese would not criticize Wang, and overseas Chinese have better things to do with their time than castigate him.
After Ma Ying-jeou resorted to using the “one China” framework, it only stands to reason that overseas Chinese would also gravitate to Beijing. After Ma Ying-jeou had all the Republic of China (ROC) flags taken down to welcome Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), who could blame the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in San Francisco for deciding in May it would no longer fly the ROC flag, to avoid embarrassing visiting Chinese officials? Yet what have the president’s attempts to oust the legislative speaker got to do with them?
Of course, Ma Yi-nan can say that she was not actually lying, because the overseas Chinese she would have encountered in the US would have been her and her brother’s relatives. She, like her family members, are all overseas Chinese. There are still questions over the US citizenship and green card status of Ma Ying-jeou and Chow, but their eldest daughter and son-in-law are both overseas Chinese with US citizenship. That the majority of the president’s family are overseas Chinese is an undisputed fact.
With his abuses of power, his incompetence and the lack of others’ empathy, such that not even senior members of his own party want to come out in his support, he relies on his own family members or overseas Chinese living in far-flung lands to prop him up. He is no longer fit to be president. And when these overseas Chinese supporters turn out to be mostly his own relatives, it really is time for him to step down.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Paul Cooper