Ivanka Trumps ‘Chinese proverb tweet mystifies China


"The daughter of the U.S. president tweeted on Monday: "'Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.' - Chinese Proverb". Her six-year-old daughter, Arabella Kushner, became an online sensation by singing ballads in Mandarin and reciting Chinese poetry in a video that was shown to President Xi Jinping during Donald Trump's visit to Beijing last year.

That sounds like pearls of wisdom from a Chinese sage - except that many Chinese people do not think it is Chinese.

President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim on Tuesday in a luxury hotel on a resort island in Singapore, in a summit unimaginable just months ago. Please help!' the news channel for Sina - the company behind Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like platform - wrote on its official 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.

Suggestions included, "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game", while another said "If you can do it, do it; if you can't, shut up".

But some weren't as helpful, with one asking Ivanka if she found her quote via a fortune cookie.

"'This not even remotely an actual Chinese proverb.' - Chinese Proverb", angryasianman tweeted.

It's not the first time Ivanka Trump has given China credit for an adage.

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.

She also wrongly attributed a quote to Albert Einstein in July previous year, writing: "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts". "To be fair, the Chinese language has hundreds and arguably thousands of times more proverbs and sayings than any other language", Herzberg said. According to the website, a Chicago periodical in 1903 published an article that read in part, "Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: 'It can't be done, ' are always being interrupted by somebody doing it".

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