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Turkmen, Chinese Workers Clash In Eastern Turkmenistan

ASHGABAT -- A fracas between Chinese and Turkmen workers at an energy company in eastern Turkmenistan has left several people injured and hundreds detained, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

The workers are employed by a Chinese energy company building a natural-gas pipeline in the eastern Samandepe and Yoloten regions.

About 200 Turkmen workers were reportedly detained and 15 Chinese workers were hospitalized after the 12 September clashes.

Turkmen workers had complained of discrimination -- with Chinese allegedly getting higher wages for the same work -- and poor working conditions.

The Turkmen Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Ashgabat did not comment on the reports.

The $7.3 billion Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline project began in 2007 and will take natural gas from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and on to China.

Gas is scheduled to begin flowing by the end of this year and will be at full capacity in 2011.