The United States said Thursday it has spoken to China about claims by blind activist Chen Guangcheng that his relatives are being targeted for reprisals after his escape from house arrest.
"We have had contact with Chinese authorities about these concerning reports," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
Nuland said Washington was not in a position to confirm the reports but "we've made inquiries, we've expressed our concern should there be any sense of reprisal etc."
Chen on Thursday accused authorities in his home province in eastern China of seeking revenge for his escape by detaining his nephew and threatening other relatives.
Chen, whose daring flight from house arrest to the US embassy in Beijing sparked a diplomatic crisis, said his nephew Chen Kegui was in police custody in Yinan county in Shandong province after attacking an intruder last month.
Local villagers and Internet reports have said the intruder was a local official angered by Chen's escape.
Chen Kegui went on the run following the incident in late April and was later detained. His wife has been missing for the past few days, Chen said.