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A third Canadian has been detained in China, although Canada's prime minister said Wednesday the case doesn't seem to be linked to the previous two that appear to be retaliation for Canada's recent arrest of a top Chinese tech executive.

Canada says it is now seeking more details on the detention.

"We are looking into the details (but) this most recent one doesn't seem to fit the pattern set by the previous two", Trudeau told a press conference.

Canadian media said McIver worked as an English teacher in China.

Since the arrest two Canadians ― Calgary-born entrepreneur Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig ― have been held by Chinese authorities.

"Consular officials are providing assistance to the family".

This is the third detention in China of a Canadian following the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou several weeks ago.

But, he said, "there is a lot at stake that could apply to all western countries".

The arrest of a third Canadian citizen could cloud relations between the two countries, which has been marred amid an ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China. His detention has created worry about the safety of former diplomats who return to China.

The seizure of Canadians has also raised concern about their treatment in China, where authorities wield powers to subject people accused of violating national security measures to extensive interrogation for up to six months without access to a lawyer.

The office did not suggest the arrest was linked to the arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on December 1, who was held by Canadian authorities at the request of US officials. China has demanded her immediate release, accusing Canada and the USA of conspiring together for political reasons and undermining Meng's "human rights". Global Affairs Canada said John McCallum, Canada's ambassador to China, met with Kovrig on Friday and Spavor on Sunday.

The participation of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in building Canada's fifth generation wireless network will be decided following the advice of Canadian security and intelligence experts, not for reasons of political expediency, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday. Australia and New Zealand have effectively banned Huawei from their grids, while the U.K and Germany are being pressed to follow suit over concerns the gear could be exploited by China's spy agencies.

China has denied that the detention of Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor is tied to Ms Meng's arrest, but many analysts believe it was a tit-for-tat action.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

"In China there are no coincidences".

Law-enforcement officials allege that Wanzhou lied to USA banks about a corporate structure devised to get around sanctions against Iran.

Michael Kovrig, the first Canadian detained in China earlier this month following the arrest of Huawei's CFO, also has Hungarian nationality, sources familiar with the matter said. "Any detention of Canadian citizens for political or diplomatic reasons is completely unacceptable", Scheer tweeted.