Ivanka Trump's tweet of a 'Chinese proverb' leaves Chinese people confused


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.

The president's elder daughter fired off a celebratory message hours ahead of his historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

"'This not even remotely an actual Chinese proverb.' - Chinese Proverb", angryasianman tweeted. "Please help!" the news channel for Sina - the company behind Weibo - wrote on its official social media account.

Ivanka Trump lit up social media on Monday after tweeting a piece of wisdom she attributed as an ancient Chinese saying: "Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it".

Some suggested classic idioms like "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game".

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

On Tuesday, after Trump and Kim met at the hotel in Singapore and shook hands before sitting down for a one-on-one meeting, Ivanka tweeted a simple collage of the iconic handshake between the two leaders.

This is not Ms Trump's first apparent misattribution to Chinese lore.

Larry Herzberg, a professor of Chinese at Calvin College in MI, said Ivanka's tweet was "yet one more example of Americans ascribing a quote to the Chinese, often to Confucius, when they don't really know the origin of the saying".

"It sounds more legitimate and credible to pronounce a quote coming from the ancient civilisation of China".

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. Actually, the saying has been occasionally ascribed to the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, though there's no evidence of him ever having used it.

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.

William Kristol, a conservative pundit, joked that the White House, in the midst of a heated trade dispute with China, had given away a valuable American invention.