In China, the government commemorated the 40th anniversary of communist rule. Across the globe, thousands of Chinese protesters rallied in solidarity to "show foreign suport for democracy" in the People's Republic.
"We want to do as much as we can to change the current situation, the repression that is going on now in China," said Li Gang, an organizer of the National Day rally, which brought crowds of students and protesters to the U.S. capital on Sunday despite a steady downpour."We want a China with more freedom and democracy and more human rights. We don't want this issue to die," Li, 29, said of the massacre of pro-Democracy students at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4.
"We want the current regime to be overthrown," said Chun Shen, a student at UCLA. "We want freedom of the press and assembly. The people should control the country for the people. We want to show foreign support for democracy in China."
U.S. Park Police Officer Tom Pegula said about 3,600 students from all over the country attended the four-hour rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The drenched demonstrators then marched 20 blocks to the Chinese Embassy.
The students identified themselves by carrying their school banners.
The demonstrators, hoping to recall the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s emotional "I Have a Dream" speech, held the rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where 26 years ago King mesmerized thousands of Americans with his call for equal rights for blacks.
In Beijing, the anniversary was marked with fireworks displays and dances in Tiananmen Square, where thousands of police patrolled to ensure the celebrations would not be disrupted.
The police mingled with the 130,000 performers, and residential areas around the square were cordoned off hours before Sunday's show. Only people with passes were allowed to enter.
A million people joined anniversary events around a tightly guarded Beijing on Sunday. Along city streets, potted flowers were arranged in designs that praised socialism and the Communist Party.
The highlight was the nationally televised 3 1/2-hour dance and fireworks display on Tiananmen Square.
The symbolic seat of power in China, the square has been under military guard since troops on June 3-4 put down the pro-democracy movement, killing hundreds of civilians.
Senior leader Deng Xiaoping, 85, watched the performance from the Tiananmen Gate rostrum above a huge portrait of Mao Tse-tung. From the same spot, Mao declared the founding of the People's Republic on Oct. 1, 1949.
The most prominent American to sit with the leaders was former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, now a private businessmen.