The Chinese embassy in Baghdad confirmed that eight construction workers from the southern province of Fujian had been seized last week on the main highway from Iraq to Jordan, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

In a tape aired by Aljazeera, which showed the captives being guarded by two hooded armed men, the captors charged that their captives had "worked with US forces in Iraq".

"We ask the Chinese government to clarify its position towards those and other Chinese who have entered Iraq to help occupation forces," a captor was heard saying as the eight men held up identity documents. 

"We ask the Chinese government to clarify its position towards those and other Chinese who have entered Iraq to help occupation forces"

Captors' message in videotape of seized Chinese workers

The captors have so far not been identified. Embassy staff said they were making all efforts to rescue the seized men, Xinhua reported.

Beijing opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, but has pledged $25 million towards rebuilding efforts and has described landmark elections due later this month as "an important step forward".