China's foreign ministry is urging its citizens not travel to Iraq in the wake of the recent kidnapping of eight Chinese nationals by Iraqi insurgents.

Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera broadcast a video showing the hostages Tuesday in which their abductors threatened to kill the men unless China "clarifies its role in Iraq." Chinese officials say the men are ordinary construction workers who went to Iraq on their own initiative.

China's foreign ministry says it is deeply concerned by the kidnapping , noting China has always shown friendship, sympathy and support towards the Iraqi people.

Last April seven Chinese construction workers from Fujian province were kidnapped in Fallujah, but later released unharmed.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.