Thu, Jan 31, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP continues attack on Ma Ying-jeou

GREEN WITH ENVY? DPP legislators joined presidential candidate Frank Hsieh in harassing Ma, who said that appplying for a US visa had invalidated his green card

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday continued its attack on Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), questioning his loyalty to the country.

Following an accusation from DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Ma told a press conference on Monday night that he obtained a US green card in 1977 when he was living in the US. Ma said the green card was automatically invalidated in 1985 when he applied for a visa at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to travel to the US.

DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) told a press conference yesterday morning that, judging from the fact that Ma had acquired his green card in 1977, it was possible that Ma filed his application for a green card in 1971 or 1972, around the time the Republic of China (ROC) lost its seat on the UN.

"Ma has to explain his motives for applying for a green card at that time," Hsu said.

Hsu also questioned Ma's allegiance to president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), saying Ma had hidden the fact that he had a green card when he served as Chiang's secretary.

"Ma started working in the Presidential Office as Chiang's English interpreter in 1981. Did Ma ever let Chiang know he had a green card?" Hsu said.

Hsu urged Ma to produce evidence that his green card had been revoked.

A green card holder is required to complete Form I-407 (Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status) when he surrenders the card, Hsu said.

"Please show the public Form I-407," Hsu said.

Later yesterday, Hsieh said Chiang would not have hired Ma if he had known that he was a green card-holder.

"Chiang instructed public servants not to keep a foot in both camps. Public servants working under him were not allowed to have green cards," Hsieh said. "If a person owns a green card, it means that he or she is granted quasi-citizenship. When the country is in turmoil, a green card-holder can fly to the US after booking a ticket, while non green card-holders must line up outside the AIT for visas."

At a separate setting, Ma, acknowledged that he had a green card while serving under Chiang, but stressed his loyalty to Taiwan.

"Mr. Ching-kuo never asked me about the green card. I did not tell him about it, but I also did not hide the news from him intentionally," Ma said during a visit to Taichung.

Ma denied applying for his green card in 1971, when the US severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and claimed that he filed the application around 1974 while studying at Harvard University.

Ma confirmed the green cards belonging to himself and his wife had been invalidated in the 1980s when the couple applied for visas at the AIT to travel to the US.

He said that, in addition to his elder daughter Lesley Ma (馬唯中), his sisters had also obtained US citizenship because they have lived in the US for more than 30 years.

Ma said that having a US passport or green card did not mean that someone was not loyal to Taiwan.

"[My family members] have US passports, but they love Taiwan very much. Obtaining a green card has nothing to do with the issue of loyalty. It is only a way to live or travel in the US," Ma said.

Ma said he would respect his daughter's decision on whether or not to give up her US citizenship.

The KMT presidential candidate also shrugged of Hsieh's accusation that he received a political donation of between NT$500,000 and NT$600,000 from a business association. Ma said he had not contravened the Political Donation Act (政治獻金法).

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