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China is Baffled by Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese Proverb' Tweet

14 June 2018

Donald Trump's daughter posted a quote from what she said was a Chinese proverb on Monday.

Weibo users who agreed it wasn't a Chinese proverb tried to guess what saying she may have been trying to reference. Many Chinese informal phrases were also pointed towards Ivanka, such as "If you can do it, do it; if you can't, shut up".

Michael Li wrote, "For the record, this is not a Chinese proverb but a piece of "mysterious East" wisdom made up by Westerners".

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".

On Twitter, many netizens mocked Trump for the allegedly misattributed quote.

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

Exasperation set in. "She saw it in a fortune cookie at Panda Express", said another. It was molded over the years to its current form, the quote-focused website found, at one point being attributed to Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. "Please help!" wrote the news channel affiliated with Weibo's parent company on its social-media account.

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

On the internet, there are a number of other instances of the quote being described as a Chinese proverb.

And it's all because of her Chinese proverb.

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According to Reuters, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump has been criticised for tweeting a "fake" Chinese proverb.

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.

Ivanka and her family enjoy a huge fan following in China.

And in March, a photo of Ms Trump donning a lab coat during a visit to a science centre was also mercilessly panned on social media, while in the same month clients threatened to boycott a salon which styled her hair before an event after the owner shared a snap of herself with the President's daughter at the hairdressers' salon.

Clearly alluding to President Trump's critics, Ivanka may have thought she was being quite profound with her choice of quote.

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