Chen, who fled house arrest last month, said his nephew is suspected of attempted murder after three men broke into his house. His nephew's wife is also missing. Chen's brother and sister-in-law appear to be under virtual house arrest, the BBC reported Thursday.
The blind activist is in a Beijing hospital being treated for a leg injury he sustained in his escape and is hoping to go to the United States with his wife and children to study at New York University as soon as his paperwork is complete.
Chen says he doesn't have much information about his family back home but he told the BBC he fears retribution against him has begun.
"I'm worried about my family's situation right now. I think the local government in Shangdong has started their revenge against me," Chen told the BBC Chinese service by telephone.
Chen said he and his family had been illegally detained in their home in Shandong for almost two years before he escaped to the U.S. embassy.