Chinese-born model concerned over plight of people with albinism in Malawi

Model Xueli Abbing, who was abandoned by her parents in China where albinism is seen by some as a curse, says she is lucky she was only abandoned since in countries like Malawi people with albinism are killed due to false beliefs.

The 16-year-old made the remarks in an interview with the BBC.

She said during the time when she born, there was the one child policy on families in China and parents felt unlucky to have a child with albinism.

According to Xueli, children with albinism were abandoned, others were locked away or if they did go to school their hair was painted black.

She, however, argued that her situation may seem better off when compared to the dangers which persons with albinism in other countries face.

“But in some countries in Africa, they are hunted, their limbs may be cut off or they are killed. Witch doctors use their bones to make medicines as people believe these can cure diseases but of course this is not true, these beliefs are myths. I’m lucky I was only abandoned,” she said.

She added that it is sad that models with albinism often get stereotyped in shoots to depict angels or ghosts

“Especially because it perpetuates those beliefs that endanger the lives of children with albinism in countries such as Tanzania and Malawi,” she said.

Xueli  then urged children with albinism to know they can do and be anything they want.

“For me, I’m different in some ways but the same in others. I love sport and climbing and I can do it as well as anyone else. People might say you can’t do things but you can, just try,” she said.

Xueli’s parents left her at an orphanage from where she was later adopted when she was three and went to live with her mum and sister in the Netherlands.  Xueli started modeling at the age of 11 and was featured in Vogue Italia’s June 2019 edition.

Xueli Image Credit: Biel Capllonch