China threat looms in Taiwan’s local elections as voters weigh island’s future

Ruling DPP puts Beijing at centre of campaign while rival KMT steers clear, in first vote since tensions in the Taiwan Strait escalated

On Sunday afternoon 150,000 people gathered in front of the Taipei city hall. Harley motorcycles, giant floats, balloons and mascots led the parade to a soundtrack of music banned in China. It looked like a concert, but on this day the main act was a politician.

The crowds were there to support Taipei mayoral candidate Chen Shih-chung, a former minister of health with the governing Democratic Progressive party (DPP).

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