Ivanka Trump's "Chinese proverb" tweet mystifies China


Ivanka posted the tweet, "Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it", for celebrating her father and US President, Donald Trump's historic meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over seeking closure to a tense decades-old nuclear stand-off. 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.

In a Weibo post, the Global Times newspaper also traced the origins of Trump's phrase to a 1903 news article, and said: "The truth is that the phrase quoted by Ivanka has actually no relation to China".

But others mocked the first daughter, who once tapped a nanny to teach her daughter to speak Chinese, for seemingly mistaking the slogan for a proverb.

In China, as the tweet made the rounds, many people were baffled, with some calling it a "fake proverb".

One user thought she meant, "The foolish old man removed mountains", a proverb used to denote perseverance.

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Some guessed that Trump referenced the quote "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game".

In China, where Twitter is blocked, screenshots of Ivanka's saying circulated on the social media site Weibo.

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

Unfortunately for Ivanka, the proverb is apparently not Chinese.

"[My editor] really can't think of what exactly this proverb is".

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Ivanka and her family enjoy a huge fan following in China.

Despite the controversy surrounding her misquotes, the president's daughter has shared quite an interest in China and Chinese culture for quite some time.

"Fake" Chinese proverb Ivanka where did u get this???", one user wrote, while another added: "This is not a real Chinese proverb but it's nice to know you can use google for fake quotes".

Weibo users were quick to notice the quote was not actually Chinese.

"That definitely is a falsely attributed proverb", Larry Herzberg, the director of Asian studies at Calvin College and a professor of Chinese language, told ABC News.

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