U.S. worried about Chinese activist's family

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke (seated next to Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng at right) talks on the phone May 2, 2012, in Beijing in this handout photograph provided by the U.S. Embassy Beijing press office.
U.S. Embassy Beijing Press via Getty Images

(AP) WASHINGTON - The U.S. says it's concerned about reports of reprisals against the family of a blind Chinese activist who escaped house arrest last month.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says U.S. and Chinese officials have spoken about the "concerning" reports. Washington seeks more information from Beijing.

After fleeing, Chen took refuge at the U.S. embassy, sparking a diplomatic standoff. The U.S. and China then agreed to let him go to the U.S. on an academic fellowship. The self-taught lawyer is in a Beijing hospital waiting to leave.

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But in Shandong province, Chen's nephew is in police detention. And several relatives are under house arrest or face other restrictions.

Nuland told reporters Thursday the U.S. made inquiries with China and "expressed our concern should there be any sense of reprisal."