Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China

Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China

"Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it", she wrote, in an apparent shot at the president's critics.

On Twitter itself, several users panned her for writing a "fake" Chinese proverb and called her out for the quote.

There was one problem with the Chinese proverb Ivanka Trump tweeted out this week - people think it's a knock-off.

Her tweet came on the eve of the day when her father, Donald Trump, met the North Korean leader at Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Island to hold talks, in a bid to resolve the decades-long nuclear stand-off between the two countries.

But users of social media in China, were unable to identify the saying, according to the AFP news agency.

Eventually, the Global Times actually sourced the quote to a 1903 news article, declaring that "the phrase quoted by Ivanka has actually no relation to China".

On social media site Weibo, some quoted similar sayings that are popular in China, such as: " Don't give advice while watching others playing a chess game".

One user wrote: "It makes sense, but I still don't know which proverb it is".

Ivanka Trump on Monday tweeted a'Chinese proverb to mark the historic meeting between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. But no one seemed to know where it came from

She hired a Chinese-speaking nanny to tutor her daughter.

"Did you get that from a fortune cookie?" another netizen asked.

It's not the first time she has incorrectly described a quotation as Chinese.

She also wrongly attributed a quote to Albert Einstein in July past year, writing: "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts".

"It sounds more legitimate and credible to pronounce a quote coming from the ancient civilization of China", said Herzberg, who with his wife, Xue Qin, has written a book on Chinese proverbs.

The quote Ivanka invoked on Tuesday has also been attributed to non-Chinese sages like George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright.

Quote Investigator, an internet website that looks at the origin of quotations, says the expression might have evolved from a comment in a periodical based in Chicago, Illinois, at the turn of the 20th century.

'But why are Trump WH (White House) aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?' he quipped.

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