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."