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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Student caught in cyberattack applauds Google stand

January 19, 2010

January 18, 2010

Stanford student: 'Tech companies should exercise their influence in China'

by Chris Kenrick Palo Alto Online Staff

Stanford University sophomore Tenzin Seldon was not entirely surprised to
learn that someone from China had hacked into her Gmail account.

The 20-year-old activist is a leader in the group Students for a Free Tibet,
publicizing Chinese human-rights abuses in the disputed territory. She also
was among the organizers of the massive pro-Tibetan protest of the Beijing
Olympic-torch run through San Francisco on April 9, 2008, forcing a
last-minute change in route.

Google discovered the breach of Seldon's Gmail in the course of
investigating what the company said last week was "a highly sophisticated
and targeted attack" on its corporate infrastructure originating from China.

Seldon, who four years ago protested Google's launch of a censored search
engine for China, now applauds the company for threatening to withdraw from
China if it cannot find a way to operate freely there.

"I applaud and commend Google for taking such an affirmative stand," Seldon
said in an interview in her campus dormitory.

"Google is living up to its motto, 'Don't be evil.'

"In terms of technology and profits, China might be huge but in terms of
human rights it is not. Fundamental human rights are necessary for any
country that claims to be a superpower.

"It is really important for technology companies to take a stand and not
condone China's repressive policies," Seldon said. "I can only hope other
companies like Microsoft and Yahoo will follow (Google) and stand up for
principles.

"I don't think they realize their influence. China needs them as much as
they need China."

Seldon, who has never been to China, has been steeped in the Tibetan cause
her entire life.

She was born and raised in the Tibetan exile community of Dharamsala in
northern India, where her parents worked in the Dalai Lama's
government-in-exile.

Her first language was Tibetan. She also speaks fluent Hindi, Nepali and
English.

When Seldon was 3, her mother won an immigration lottery and left for the
United States. The rest of the family did not follow for more than a decade.

Seldon went to high school in Columbia Heights, Minn., where she founded the
Midwest chapter of Students for a Free Tibet.

Asked how she happened to come to Stanford, Seldon answered, "The work
ethic. I strive to look at the broader picture."
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