Parents of children affected by the Shanxi vaccine scandal were threatened yesterday with injury and death if they did not give up their fight to punish those responsible. The threats were issued in anonymous telephone calls and text messages. Whistle-blower Chen Taoan, a Shanxi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention staff member, also received a death threat. 'I can't wait to meet those guys and beat the crap out of them,' Chen, a retired PLA investigation unit captain, said. 'It's an open war now. Let's fight.' A report in the China Economic Times, a government-affiliated newspaper, on Wednesday linked vaccines to the deaths of four children and illnesses in another 74. Some of the children who fell ill were left with permanent damage after taking vaccines for encephalitis, hepatitis B, rabies and other illnesses from 2006 to 2008. Some of the parents staged a protest in provincial capital Taiyuan on Saturday after Chen told the newspaper the vaccines had been improperly handled and sold by a small private company with no medical qualifications but close ties to senior provincial health officials. More than 10 of the parents told the South China Morning Post they had received threatening calls or text messages yesterday. They were asked to 'stop making a fuss' and that 'we will give you 100,000 yuan' if they did so. The parents were told that if they failed to comply, 'we will receive an order for one of your legs', or 'to tear you into pieces', or 'burn your house down and kill everyone in your family'. Some were told, 'Our boss hopes you understand one thing: You will never win. You are nothing, but we have all the power and money.' The phone calls and text messages were sent from an anonymous mobile-phone account registered in Fuyang city, Anhui, the Post discovered. While some parents were rattled by the threats, others were determined to continue their fight. Wang Wenjuan, a resident of the city of Yangquan whose three-year-old son died after he was given three shots for rabies two years ago, said she was deeply disturbed by the call she received. 'I am scared, scared, scared. I don't trust anybody now. The call was frightening. Frightening. I can't talk about the vaccine and my son's death any more, I can't,' she said. Wang Mingliang, a villager in Liulin county whose nine-month-old son fell ill and died after he was given two injections of a hepatitis B vaccine in 2007, said he was shocked when he got an intimidating text message yesterday afternoon. 'They threatened to take my leg if I don't give up. I am not scared. I will keep on fighting until the criminals responsible for the death of my son receive a bullet in their heads,' he said. A Gujiawan villager in Datong city, surnamed Song, whose one-year-old daughter developed autism after being inoculated for hepatitis B in 2008, said she and her family were not afraid. 'My daughter is a vaccine victim. I am sure it's the vaccine's problem, because she never fully woke up after taking the shot,' she said. 'The threat can't stop us. We believe justice will eventually defeat evil. The government must give us an answer and punish the corrupt officials whose hearts have been eaten by dogs.' Not all the parents of vaccine victims in Shanxi had received threats when the Post inquired yesterday, but some had heard of the intimidation from other parents.