Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China

Ivanka Trump daughter of President Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump daughter of President Donald Trump

Herzberg said that Trump is "not alone in" misattributing such a quote, saying "thousands of Americans" say that phrases are Chinese proverbs without any evidence for those claims.

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

"'Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.' - Chinese Proverb", the first daughter wrote in a tweet that quickly went viral for apparently being fake.

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

"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.

Ivanka Trump arrives for an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 7, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Many pointed towards a classic Chinese idiom: "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game".

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


According to the New York Times, one website suggested the saying originated in America itself and has been attributed to George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright.

There was one problem with the Chinese proverb Ivanka Trump tweeted out this week - people think it's a knock-off.

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

Some internet users mocked Ivanka for her tweet.

"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. 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 Mr Trump's visit to Beijing last year.

A pseudo-Confucian version was fabricated in 1962 - perhaps explaining why Ms Trump believed it was a Chinese proverb.

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

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