Black Bauhinia is the flagship product of Malte’s research on Hong Kong localism and emotions. The project was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account of the University of Surrey and the University of Surrey Impact and Engagement Fund. Additional funding was provided by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
Malte has researched identity politics and democratisation in Hong Kong since his time as an exchange student at Hong Kong University in the early 2000s. After his graduate degree in Chinese Studies and Political Science at Heidelberg, he went for doctoral studies in the Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. His dissertation examined identity formation in election campaigns in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
During his time in Hong Kong he established an extensive network with politicians, activists, lawmakers and civil society actors in Hong Kong and began research on the community of localists as early as 2012. Based on eight years of academic research, the documentary outlines the rise of both Hong Kong Localism and the independence movement. These are a reaction to Chinese influence and the deterioration of human rights and democracy in the territory.