(Minghui.org) Ms. Xiang Xiaoyan was illegally arrested by police from Harbin Public Security Bureau on December 21, 2011. Ten days later, over 30 local practitioners were also arrested. Most of them were sentenced to forced labor and sent to labor camps. Ms. Xiang was one of them.

Ms. Xiang Xiaoyan, 35, was a computer engineer at the Computing Center of Heilongjiang Province. She started practicing Falun Gong in 1997.

In 1999, shortly after Ms. Xiang entered the workforce, the persecution of Falun Gong began. She was repeatedly arrested and detained for refusing to give up her faith. In early 2002, she was detained in the Second Detention Center of Harbin for one month. In February 2011, officers from the Zhujianglu Police Station went to her home to arrest her, but didn't succeed. Thereafter, Harbin Public Security Bureau officials repeatedly went to her workplace to harass her.

On December 21, 2011, Ms. Xiang got off work and went home. As soon as she arrived home and opened the door, several plainclothes police officers pushed her inside. Without showing any identification, they ransacked her house and confiscated her personal belongings. They showed their identification only when Ms. Xiang's husband came home.

Ms. Xiang was arrested and sent to the Second Detention Center of Harbin, where she has been detained to date. Following her detention, Zhou Songbin, captain of the Domestic Security Division, and Fan Xiangrui, case personnel, repeatedly tried to block Ms. Xiang's family from hiring a lawyer to defend her. However, Ms. Xiang's family prevailed in hiring a defense attorney.

After Ms. Xiang was arrested, her husband requested to visit her every week, but was denied by the detention center. Ms. Xiang's parents, older sister and younger brother, who live far away, had repeatedly come to visit her, but were also refused.

On August 22, 2012, Ms. Xiang was tried by the Nangang Court of Harbin. The trial was not open to the public. The court only allowed five of Ms. Xiang's friends and relatives to attend the hearing. The trial took place in Wanggang Town Court, far away from the urban area.

During the trial, Ms. Xiang's lawyer argued that practicing Falun Gong does not break any laws and downloading Falun Gong materials doesn't violate any rules. The lawyer argued that Ms. Xiang should be acquitted by the court unconditionally.

During the defense process, the court personnel quietly listened to the lawyer; no one interrupted him. After the trial, one person said upon leaving the courtroom, “Even if she (Ms. Xiang) is sentenced, we all know it goes against one's conscience.”