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

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The daughter of the U.S. president used a Chinese proverb to extend support, saying, "Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it- Chinese Proverb".

In a Weibo post, the Global Times newspaper also traced the origins of Trump's phrase to a 1903 news article, and said: "The truth is that the phrase quoted by Ivanka has actually no relation to China".

However, profound or not, the proverb left people in China puzzled as no one had seemed to have heard of it.

In China, where Twitter is blocked, screenshots of Ivanka's saying circulated on the social media site Weibo.

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

"Our editor really can't think of exactly which proverb this is".

It refers to a fable about a man who persisted in his attempt to level a mountain he found inconvenient by dogged digging.

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One website suggested it originated in the United States itself at the turn of the 20th century. By 1962, it had been put behind the words "Confucius say" by another periodical.

"'This not even remotely an actual Chinese proverb.' - Chinese Proverb", angryasianman tweeted. The 36-year-old identified the quote as a "Chinese Proverb", prompting China's online users to collectively scratch their heads.

"She saw it in a fortune cookie at Panda Express", mocked one Weibo user, according to the Washington Post.

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".

On the internet, there are a number of other instances of the quote being described as a Chinese proverb.

Bill Kristol, editor of the USA political magazine the Weekly Standard, tweeted a guess that the phrase "seems in fact to be American from the turn of the 20th c. - which makes sense, since its spirit is can-do Americanism".

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

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