Why Taiwanese Continue to Call Ma Ying-jeou the Phony Pony

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Saturday December 11, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Finally, finally, finally, after being sure that that was the way the wind was blowing, Ma Ying-jeou took the occasion of his speaking at the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award Ceremony to urge China to release Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Way back when Liu had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the most that Ma could muster was a mild statement of protest over Liu's incarceration. Now being convinced that the majority of nations wanted Liu's release, Ma had no choice but to join the chorus, very late indeed.

Ma, who touts himself as the great peace maker in the Taiwan Strait (read that as one who tries to please everyone and more than willing to kowtow to Beijing) also came under fire when he spoke at the Jingmei Human Rights Cultural Park marking International Human Rights Day.

Speaking at the Human Rights Park and the site where numerous political prisoners were held and tortured by the Chinese Nationalist Party (the KMT and the party that Ma is Chairman of) Ma came under fire from his audience. Over one third walked out on Ma's speech, not only because human rights violations have increased under Ma's reign, but because Ma himself was touted as a student spy from those early days.

This is the side of Ma Ying-jeou, (a.k.a. Ma Ying-joke, and the Phony Pony) that the western world seldom sees but the reality why Ma's approval ratings in Taiwan have continually been low. For Taiwanese, the Phony Pony can talk the talk about Human Rights but he has never walked the walk. Ma's PR teams have worked diligently to keep this side of him out of western media, but there are signs that the cracks in the facade are becoming more evident.