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July 24, 2017

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A brief respite for President following Green Card fiasco

Taipei-based Next Magazine's weekly tabloid has given a beleaguered President Ma Ying-jeou a thankful respite. In its latest issue, the rumormonger journal printed an expose about Ma continuing to keep his American Green Card, obligating him to file a tax return in July with the Internal Revenue Service in accordance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

It's a bonanza for President Ma, who was hard-pressed to cope during the Sunflower student movement and is currently facing anti-China riots in Vietnam, where Taiwan has the short end of the stick. He badly needs a respite.

Inscrutably hostile Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders, from Chairman Su Tseng-chang on down, took the tabloid bait and clamored for Ma's resignation. In particular, Frank Hsieh, the former DPP chairman who ran unsuccessfully against Ma in 2008 with Su as his running mate, charged that Ma won the presidency twice by fraud and has completely lost the legitimacy to rule Taiwan. Incidentally, Hsieh brought up the question of Ma's Green Card in the run-up to the presidential election of 2008. The issue was resolved in Ma's favor by a former American Institute in Taiwan representative in Taipei.

Ma rose militantly to the challenge. His spokesperson Lee Chia-fei told the press at once that President Ma would resign if he were required to file a tax return in accordance with FATCA. His Kuomintang (KMT) spokesman Chen Yi-hsin demanded that Su, Hsieh and another former DPP chairman, Yu Shye-kun, who is running for mayor of the special municipality of New Taipei, quit politics to take responsibility for falsely accusing Ma of dishonesty. They should quit, he said, if the KMT chairman is proven to have kept no permanent residence status subjecting him to the foreign account tax compliance law.

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