Ivanka Trump's "Chinese proverb" tweet mystifies China

Ivanka Trump daughter of President Donald Trump

The U.S. First Daughter tweeted the quote, "Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it - Chinese Proverb". She has cultivated a loyal following among young Chinese women, many of whom admire her success in starting a fashion brand and see her as a symbol of elegance.

In China, as Trump's tweet was shared and reposted, many natives were baffled, calling the workforce development aid out for her "fake proverb".

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". Others suggested, "Don't give advice while watching others playing a chess game", "Don't force others to do things you don't want to do yourself" and "It's better to knit a fishnet instead of standing by the river and hoping for fish".

"Maybe she saw it in a Panda Express fortune cookie", one person joked. 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.

"One proverb from Ivanka has exhausted the brain cells of all Chinese internet users", another wrote on Weibo.

She quoted the tweet as having been said by Confucious, famous Chinese editor, philosopher, and politician when in reality the historical figure never had said anything remotely like that.

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The tweet stumped Chinese social media users who were unable to identify it.

Meanwhile, US journalist Bill Kristol pointed out that the proverb could actually have originated in America.

"But why are Trump WH (White House) aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?" he quipped.

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

Some internet users mocked Ivanka for her tweet. She frequently emphasizes her connection to China and Chinese culture and has also hired a Chinese-speaking nanny to tutor her daughter.

Ivanka Trump has found herself the subject of Twitter mockery after misattributing a quote as an old "Chinese proverb".

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