Huh? China stumped by Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb'


Taking to the social media platform ahead of the historic summit between her father, US President Donald Trump, and rogue North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week, Ms Trump tweeted: "Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it", attributing the meaningful words to a Chinese proverb.

The U.S. First Daughter tweeted the quote, "Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it - Chinese Proverb".

Confucius says Ivanka Trump made a proverbial social media gaffe.

One user on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, said the saying originated from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Kim's meeting in Singapore on Tuesday. Evan Vucci  AP
Kim's meeting in Singapore on Tuesday. Evan Vucci AP

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.

Ivanka Trump on Monday tweeted a "Chinese proverb" to mark the historic meeting between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

"Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: 'It can't be done, ' are always being interrupted by somebody doing it", according to an article in the mag, the New York Times reported.

But it didn't take long for Twitter users to point out one glaring problem - there is no evidence to suggest the "proverb" was either ancient, or Chinese.

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Ivanka Trump urged on her father's meeting at Singapore by tweeting an inspirational nugget she described as a Chinese proverb - but nobody in China has a clue what she's talking about.

'Our editor really can't think of exactly which proverb this is.

The official account of Weibo's owner, the tech firm Sina, also was puzzled.

Some internet users mocked Ivanka for her tweet.

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"Maybe she saw it in a Panda Express fortune cookie", one person joked.

The ridicule was present stateside, too, where conservative writer and ardent Trump critic Bill Kristol lambasted her over the proverb.

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts", she wrote, attributing the quote to Einstein, before quickly being informed by other Twitter users that this was not an Einstein quote.

"Why are Trump WH aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?"

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