Presidential Office releases identity of ‘first son-in-law’

By Enru Lin ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Who is he? After a weekend of media speculation, the Presidential Office late yesterday released the identity of first daughter Lesley Ma’s (馬唯中) new husband. He is Tsai Pei-jan (蔡沛然), the first daughter’s former classmate at Harvard University, confirmed Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfi Li (李佳霏). Tsai is Taiwan-born and American-raised, Li said in response to questions about the “first son-in-law’s” nationality. The long-term couple tied the knot quietly overseas last year, registering their marriage in New York and not California as rumored. Tsai works in the finance industry in Hong Kong, where he and Lesley Ma reside. His parents are retired and living in Taiwan, she said. Li added that Lesley Ma hosted a sit-down dinner with friends on March 9, not a wedding reception. “President Ma Ying-jeou is very grateful for everyone’s concern but hopes that the newlyweds’ privacy will be respected,” she said. Local media had scrambled to uncover Tsai’s identity after the first daughter was spotted in Taipei over the weekend, apparently to host a quiet wedding reception at the Grand Hotel. In the event’s wake, local media speculated that the first daughter had left her position at Cai Guoqiang’s (蔡國強) New York studio and was planning to settle in Hong Kong with her new husband. Lesley Ma and her husband were married in California last year, according to reports. Request for comment met initial resistance. On Sunday, the president declined questions over his daughter’s marriage. A presidential aide later said that the private life of the first family is highly confidential. According to the aide, the president is permitting only two official responses to media: “We have no comment on whether they are married” and “(The Grand Hotel banquet) was a simple college reunion.”

‘National security’ Earlier on Monday, pan-green lawmakers decried the presidential secrecy, saying that Lesley Ma’s husband is “a matter of national security.” “This whole thing is incredible — right now we are unsure who he is or what nationality he holds. The president must make that clear,” said Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) in a press event early yesterday. Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) voiced concern that the new couple could fall subject to Chinese surveillance in Hong Kong. Due to Lesley Ma’s relationship with Taiwan, and Chinese jurisdiction over Hong Kong, the newlyweds may be monitored and could even be held captive, according to Tsai. “We hope that the president seriously thinks about this vulnerability in national security,” he said.