Ivanka Trump´s 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

The daughter of the United States 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".

On Twitter itself, several users panned her for writing a "fake" Chinese proverb and called her out for the quote.

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".

Some said this sort of stereotyping was common among Americans, who often mistakenly attribute pithy sayings to Chinese sages, perhaps to give them an added aura of wisdom.

President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim on Tuesday in a luxury hotel on a resort island in Singapore, in a summit unimaginable just months ago.

Countless Twitter users claimed the proverb was not Chinese, while a number of experts told The Independent there was no evidence the proverb had originated in China.

Some Weibo users suggested she might have mixed up the translation of the proverb, "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game", according to the New York Times.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, with Ivanka Trump at far left, at dinner at Mar-a-Lago a year ago. "Some said, 'maybe Ivanka saw it on a fortune cookie, ' which despite the name isn't of Chinese origin either".

Unfortunately for Ivanka, the proverb is apparently not Chinese.

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".

It's not the first time Ivanka Trump has given China credit for an adage.

"It sounds more legitimate and credible to pronounce a quote coming from the ancient civilisation of China".

She also wrongly attributed a quote to Albert Einstein in July a year ago, writing: "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts".

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

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