Ma was transferred along with his brother Ma Fuxiang and several cousins to serve as officers under General Dong Fuxiang to Beijing in 1898. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Muslim troops came to be known as the "Kansu Braves", and fought against the Eight Nation Alliance. Ma Fulu and Ma Fuxiang both participated in ambushing and driving back the Alliance forces at the Battle of Langfang, after which they returned to Beijing. Ma Fulu and four cousins of his were killed in action during the battle against the foreigners in the legations, in 1900 during the Battle of Peking. He had commanded a brigade, his brother Ma Fuxiang took over his position after his death.
He had a son, Ma Hongbin, who later became a General in charge of the 84th Army Corps.
Ma Fuxing, a Hui who played an important part in the history of Xinjiang, served under Ma Fulu during the Boxer Rebellion.
Originally buried at a Hui cemetery in Beijing, in 1995 Ma Fulu's remains were moved by his descendants to Yangzhushan in Linxia County.