In the Same Breath (2021)

  • Documentary
  • 1h 35m

Closed-captioning available in English. Please click the ‘CC’ button on the bottom right of the player to activate

Presented in partnership with: Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, NYWIFT, Pen America, Rooftop Films.

In The Same Breath, directed by Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation), explores the parallel campaigns of misinformation waged by the Chinese and US leadership and their devastating impact on millions of lives since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a deeply personal approach, Wang, who was born in China and now lives in the United States, shares emotional first-hand accounts and startling, on-the-ground footage captured by camerapersons in China and the US as she weaves a revelatory picture of mass cover-ups and dishonesty while also highlighting the strength and resilience of the healthcare workers, activists, and family members who risked everything to communicate the truth.

An HBO Documentary Film

“We all think of ourselves as capable of separating truth from falsehood. But how can we make that distinction, when misinformation comes from the people we are supposed to trust?” - Nanfu Wang, director, In The Same Breath

“It’s really about the ‘same breath’ drawn by people across China and the US—breath that isn’t valued by political leaders, who lie to them and abandon them, the failures of democracy and the costs of authoritarianism.” - Sophie Richardson, China director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch

  • Winner, Audience Award, Festival Favorites, SXSW 2021

  • Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2021

  • Thank you to everyone who joined our digital film festival screening + live Q&A on May 24. You can still watch the film at your own pace until May 27, and view the recording of the Q&A with filmmaker Nanfu Wang and Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch, moderated by Mei Fong, Chief Communications Officer, Human Rights Watch: here on our Vimeo page.

We do not want the cost of entry to be a barrier for participation in the festival. If the price of buying a ticket to this film would prevent you from participating, please email the following address ( + you will receive an auto-reply email with a free ticket code. We have set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work. For anyone that purchases a ticket, we appreciate your support. Your ticket purchase enables us to make tickets free for those who might otherwise be unable to watch. This also allows the festival to support the filmmakers for sharing their work in our festival and for the festival to cover the cost of hosting the films online.


Nanfu Wang


English, Mandarin



Bonus Content

50 mins
'In the Same Breath' recorded Q&A

Monday, May 24 live Q&A

Conversation with filmmaker Nanfu Wang and Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch, moderated by Mei Fong, Chief Communications Officer, Human Rights Watch.

'In the Same Breath' Filmmaker Introduction

An introductory video from ‘In the Same Breath’ filmmaker Nanfu Wang

Respect Rights in COVID-19 Response

Recommendations for Governments in Addressing Pandemic

Governments should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing the right to health for all and respect for human rights, Human Rights Watch said March 2020 in a report: “Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Response,” analyzes government obligations and the human rights concerns posed by the coronavirus outbreak along with examples of responses so far. Human Rights Watch proposes recommendations for governments to address the outbreak while respecting fundamental human rights, including the rights to health, free expression, nondiscrimination, and freedom of movement.

Read more here.

COVID-19 : A Human Rights Perspective

HRW Researchers Discuss Human Rights Implications of COVID-19

Governments should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing the right to health for all and respect for human rights. In this video, Human Rights Watch made April 2020, staff discuss key human rights dimensions of the pandemic and make recommendations to governments.

Rights, Transparency Central for Covid-19 Vaccines

Global Cooperation, Accountability Key

Governments should maximize Covid-19 vaccine access and affordability for people worldwide, and those funding vaccines with public money should be transparent about the terms and conditions attached, Human Rights Watch said in a report released 29 October 2020. Governments should support India and South Africa’s proposal to waive some aspects of global intellectual property (IP) rules to enable large-scale manufacturing and make vaccines affordable for all.

The report, “‘Whoever Finds the Vaccine Must Share It’: Strengthening Human Rights and Transparency around Covid-19 Vaccines,” examines three significant barriers to universal and equitable access to any vaccine that is found to be safe and effective – transparency, supply, and pricing. Human Rights Watch spells out governments’ human rights obligation to ensure that the scientific benefits of the research they fund with public money are shared as widely as possible to protect people’s lives, health, and livelihoods. Human Rights Watch also argues that using public money without reporting its terms and conditions undermines the human rights principles of transparency and accountability. Governments should take steps to maximize the availability and affordability of safe and effective vaccines and minimize debt for low- and middle-income countries.

Read more here.

Young Rural Black Women’s Struggle in the Covid-19 Era

Earlier in 2020, we spoke to a 17-year-old from rural Bolivar county, Mississippi who had been planning to head to college this fall, the first in her family to attend. She had to put aside her plans when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Instead she found herself caring for her ailing grandmother and setting up a K-5 classroom at her dining room table in the family’s trailer to teach her younger siblings. She had to quit her job at Dollar General, where she was earning money for college, to protect her family’s safety. Read more in the article ‘Pandemic’s toll on young Black women’ here.

People are Mobilizing to Help During the COVID-19 crisis

Around the world people have mobilized to help each other during the COVID-19 crisis, as we see in this video from March 2020.