Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb' tweet mystifies China

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Ivanka Trump took to Twitter to express support for her father, Donald Trump, prior to his meeting with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un; however, her choice of wording left many perplexed.

"Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it", she wrote, in an apparent shot at the president's critics.

Confucius says Ivanka Trump made a proverbial social media gaffe.

The website Quote Investigator looked into this saying a few years ago and the earliest usage they could find was in 1903 in a Chicago periodical. "Fake" Chinese proverb Ivanka where did u get this???", one user wrote, while another added: "This is not a real Chinese proverb but it's nice to know you can use google for fake quotes".

The tweet in question was posted just ahead of President Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

There was no agreement in the responses, although some people suggested Ivanka was alluding to a tale about a man who tried to dug up a mountain that he found in his way, according to the Telegraph.

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".

Social media users offered similar quotes by Chinese President Xi Jinping - known for trumpeting the value of "practical work" over "empty talk" - while also suggesting fake sayings by famous Chinese author Lu Xun.

"[My editor] really can't think of what exactly this proverb is".

The official account of Weibo's owner, the tech firm Sina, also was puzzled.

The ridicule was present stateside, too, where conservative writer and ardent Trump critic Bill Kristol lambasted her over the proverb.

Some internet users mocked Ivanka for her tweet.

Bill Kristol, editor of the United States 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". She then falsely attributed that saying to the Chinese philosopher Confucius.

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