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Ivanka Trump's Proverb Leaves Chinese Internet Users Puzzled

13 June 2018

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

"One proverb from Ivanka has exhausted the brain cells of all Chinese internet users", a commenter admitted.

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

But digital sleuths in the United States and China said there is no evidence such a pearl of wisdom originated in China.

Trump posted the words of wisdom on Monday, possibly sparked by criticism of her father's efforts in the North Korea summit. Please help!' the news channel for Sina - the company behind Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like platform - wrote on its official account.

There was no agreement in the responses, although some people suggested Ivanka was alluding to a tale about a man who tried to dug up a mountain that he found in his way, according to the Telegraph.

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".

Ivanka Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-In.

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

They also offered some snarky commentary, including one person who said, "Don't mistake something as a Chinese proverb simply because it's written in Chinese characters".

It's not the first time she has incorrectly described a quotation as Chinese.

"It sounds more legitimate and credible to pronounce a quote coming from the ancient civilisation of China". Since then, the quote has gone through a number of variations and attributions. 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.

"Three minutes of googling suggests this is a fake Chinese Proverb".

Quote Investigator, an internet website that looks at the origin of quotations, says the expression might have evolved from a comment in a periodical based in Chicago, Illinois, at the turn of the 20th century. "But why are Trump WH aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?"

Ivanka Trump's Proverb Leaves Chinese Internet Users Puzzled