Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China | ivanka trump | chinese proverb | weibo

A tweet posted to Ivanka Trump's Twitter account

Trump's tweet was aimed at critics of the historic summit between her father, U.S. President Donald Trump, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

According to the New York Times, Ivanka Trump's tweet also sparked a widespread discussion on Weibo among baffled Chinese netizens who suggested genuine Chinese sayings which might convey a similar meaning to it.

Ivanka and her daughter, Arabella, are popular in China after videos of the 6-year-old singing in Mandarin and reciting ancient Chinese poetry have gone viral in the past. 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.

There's just one problem: this is most likely not a Chinese proverb.

"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", Larry Herzberg, a professor of Chinese at Calvin College in MI, said at that time.

Confucius says Ivanka Trump made a proverbial social media gaffe.

Some suggested classic idioms like "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game".

'She saw it in a fortune cookie at Panda Express, ' one user wrote.

But users of social media in China, were unable to identify the saying, according to the AFP news agency.

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

However, despite Ivanka's attribution, there is no evidence that this quote comes from China and it doesn't match any Chinese proverb that we know of.

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

Twitter users were also quick to criticise the president's daughter.

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts", she wrote, attributing the quote to Einstein, before quickly being informed by other Twitter users that this was not an Einstein quote.

In 2013, she tweeted, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" - incorrectly linking it to Chinese philosopher Confucius.

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

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