``Standing outside the neighborhood committee with a placard round my neck was worse than standing on a platform being condemned. When I looked down at the large audience I never knew how many of them actually knew me personally. At the neighborhood committee everyone who went by was known to me. This old lady with a shopping basket had known me since I was a boy, that woman had invited me to her wedding, that boy always called uncle. I lowered my head and looked at the ground. They would take a detour or quicken their steps, feeling bad at seeing someone who had neither stolen nor robbed standing there like a man sentenced to death. I identified them by their shoes and the way they walked, particularly my mother, whose feet had been bound and later unbound. She'd hovered near me countless times in her life. Now her steps were heavy and hesitant.''