Ivanka Trump's ‘Chinese Proverb’ Stumps Social Media Users In China

Blanche Robertson
June 14, 2018

"Some said, 'maybe Ivanka saw it on a fortune cookie, ' which despite the name isn't of Chinese origin either".

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

Another said: "It makes sense, but I still don't know which proverb it is".

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

But it was reportedly panned on China's social network, Weibo, and may have actually been an early 20th-century saying.

"'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. 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.

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.

Trump adviser apologises for saying Trudeau has ‘a place in hell’
Those remarks then sparked a Twitter outburst from Trump in which he called Trudeau "so indignant". Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Mr Navarro had "crossed a line".

The 36-year-old identified the quote as a "Chinese Proverb", prompting China's online users to collectively scratch their heads.

"Later when people found out the "Chinese proverb" Ivanka quoted doesn't exist, they didn't take it too seriously ..."

And she even hired a Chinese-speaking nanny to tutor her daughter, Arabella. It seems in fact to be American from the turn of the 20th c. -which makes sense, since its spirit is can-do Americanism.

This is not Ms Trump's first apparent misattribution to Chinese lore. The saying was attributed to Confucius as a joke in the '60s, and seemed to take on another life as a legitimate Confucius quote thereafter.

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

Arabella Kushner, her daughter, also became an online sensation in China by reciting Chinese poetry in a video shown to President Xi Jinping during Donald Trump's visit to Beijing past year.

Ivanka is a popular figure in China, with many young women there seeing her as a symbol of elegance following the success of her clothing label.

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