Ivanka Trump tweets 'Chinese' proverb, confusing China

Ivanka Trump Donald

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"'Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.' -Chinese Proverb", Ivanka posted on Monday, the night before her father and Kim came together to seek an end to a tense decadesold nuclear stand-off.

Netizens, however, pointed out that the quote, which purportedly came from China, did not originate from any known Chinese proverb based on sources found online.

People in China began tweeting other sayings they thought Ivanka might have meant to use.

Ivanka Trump on Monday tweeted a "Chinese proverb" to mark the historic meeting between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. "Please help!" the news channel for Sina - the company behind Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like platform - wrote on its official social media account.

But criticism was more muted, with many people appearing more interested in helpfully trying to guess which actual Chinese idiom she might have meant to use.

Ms Trump has frequently touted her connection to China and its culture.

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". She has cultivated a loyal following among young Chinese women, many of whom admire her success in starting a fashion brand and see her as a symbol of elegance.

"Actually Western people like to make up Chinese proverbs, like us, as we Chinese people also make up lots of those", said a diplomatic user on Weibo.

Unfortunately for Ivanka, the proverb is apparently not Chinese. Since then, the quote has gone through a number of variations and attributions. "To be fair, the Chinese language has hundreds and arguably thousands of times more proverbs and sayings than any other language", Herzberg said.

The website Quote Investigator looked into this saying a few years ago and the earliest usage they could find was in 1903 in a Chicago periodical.

The quote Ivanka invoked on Tuesday has also been attributed to non-Chinese sages like George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright. "But why are Trump WH aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?"

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