Taiwan votes in a general election on Saturday. The top issue on the ballot is the island's relationship with China, with stakes that could affect the whole Asia Pacific.
Taiwan has reopened to international travel, and has lifted some other restrictions, as people celebrate Lunar New Year with family and friends.
Taiwan's president announced last week that mandatory military service for young people will increase from four months to a full year. There is substantial popular support for the move because of a rising threat from China, though among young people themselves, it’s more complicated.
In China, protests have declined after the loosening of some COVID-19 restrictions. Some Taiwanese continue to support the "A4 revolution," or "white paper protests," in China.
This year's Pride in Taipei was a celebration of achievements and identities — but also a protest. Groups representing transgender people, sex workers and people living with HIV and AIDS all gave speeches calling for further social and political change.
On Oct. 13, Taiwan finally reopened to tourists after 2 1/2 years of relative isolation. The country had focused border restrictions to keep COVID-19 cases and death rates low. Travelers and tourism business owners say they’re thankful that their main source of revenue is returning.
Underlying the festivities are increased concerns about Taiwan’s relationship with China as well as changes in its own national identity.