Huh? China stumped by Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb'

Lawrence Kim
June 13, 2018

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". 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.

Ivanka is idolized by many people in China, where she is referred to by the Chinese characters 伊万卡 - pronounced "Yi Wan Ka" - and even described as a "goddess".

Ivanka Trump on Monday tweeted a "Chinese proverb" to mark the historic meeting between Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

The news channel for Sina, the company behind China's largest Twitter-like platform Weibo, wrote on their account: 'Our editor really can't think of exactly which proverb this is. Some said it could have been "Don't give advice while watching others playing a chess game".

Maybe she just saw it on a fortune cookie?

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, with Ivanka Trump at far left, at dinner at Mar-a-Lago previous year.

Unfortunately for Ivanka, the proverb is apparently not Chinese.

"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.

It's not the first time she has incorrectly described a quotation as Chinese. In 2013, for example, she posted on Twitter, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life", attributing the phrase to Confucius. "To be fair, the Chinese language has hundreds and arguably thousands of times more proverbs and sayings than any other language", Herzberg said.

One website suggested it originated in the United States itself at the turn of the 20th century.

The blog Quote Investigator has found that the saying first emerged in a 1903 Chicago magazine in reference to innovation during that time.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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