Long lines formed as the official starting time of the funeral approached, snaking hundreds of metres back from the hall holding Ba Jin's coffin. Some mourners had waited for hours and the elderly begged to go to the front of the queue because of fatigue. A few people even tried to push past lines of police holding the crowd back. Shortly before 3pm, attendants allowed the first batch of people into the outer reception room after government officials had left. The crowd became even more unruly as people anxiously waited to enter the hall. Finally, I stepped into the hall containing the coffin, surrounded by layers of multi-coloured roses with a cluster of red roses shaped like a heart at the front. Ba Jin, partly covered by a white shroud, looked as if he was sleeping peacefully as his favourite music - Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony - played in the background. As mourners tried to bow after circling the casket and stopping to gaze at Ba Jin's face, staff testily warned mourners not to stop. 'Hurry up,' they said. Some elderly people sobbed quietly. One man came all the way from the western region of Ningxia in the hope of raising money for a Ba Jin museum. An 11-year-old girl from Ba Jin's home town of Chengdu had come to Shanghai to represent her school. 'I've read lots of his works, but I can't understand all of them. I hope I can be a person who can 'speak the truth' like him,' she said, echoing a famous Ba Jin saying.