Five days after a top executive of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, was arrested on a US request in Canada, US President Donald Trump said he was willing to intervene — if it helped secure “the largest trade deal ever made”. The detention of Meng Wanzhou, one of China’s best-known executives, was undoubtedly an incendiary step, escalating trade tensions with Beijing. But presidential interference in the case would send entirely the wrong message about the US justice system — and about how the administration conducts international affairs. The US and western allies have legitimate concerns about China’s reputation for digital espionage and theft of intellectual property. They agree a more robust stance is needed towards Beijing. But arresting a star of Chinese business — Meng has been called China’s Sheryl Sandberg — on a Canadian stopover en route to Mexico from Hong Kong is not the way to persuade Beijing to change its behaviour. Even if the Huawei CFO was held on unrelated char...

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