He fought against the foreign Eight Nation Alliance in the Boxer Rebellion with his nephew Ma Biao serving under him, besieged the Catholic Xishiku Cathedral and the legations, and defeated the Alliance at Battle of Langfang, and died of exhaustion while he and the Kansu Braves were escorting the Imperial family to safety. His son Ma Qi took over his posts.
Ma Biao was the eldest son of Ma Haiqing 馬海清, who was the sixth younger brother of Ma Haiyan, the grandfather of Ma Bufang. Ma Haiyuan (Ma Hai-yüan) 馬海淵 was the seventh younger brother of Ma Haiyan, father of Ma Guzhong and Ma Bao (Ma Pao) 馬寶, and grandfather of Ma Zhongying.
^University of Cambridge. Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit (2002). Inner Asia, Volume 4, Issues 1-2. The White Horse Press for the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge. p. 204. Retrieved 28 June 2010.