Ivanka Trump tweets 'Chinese' proverb, confusing China

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The problem? Nobody in China even knows what the phrase means, or where it might have come from.

"'Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.' -Chinese Proverb", Ivanka posted on Monday, the night before her father and Kim came together to seek an end to a tense decadesold nuclear stand-off.

China's Internet quickly lit up, puzzled rather than flattered by the reference.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shake hands in Singapore. However, users on China's largest Twitter-like microblogging site, Weibo, took to the social media platform to point out that such a proverb didn't actually exist in their language.

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

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

Some suggested the proverb "the foolish old man removed mountains" - a common phrase used to signify perseverance.

Watch Bruce Springsteen Perform "My Hometown" at the 2018 Tony Awards
He likely spent some time after his meeting with Kim catching up on the news about him back in the United States. President Trump responded Tuesday to Robert De Niro's expletive-laden rant at Sunday's Tony Awards .

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump arrives prior to a joint news conference between U.S. President Donald Trump an Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2018.

The website QuoteInvestigator.com, run by Garson O'Toole, found in 2015 that it may have originated in the United States in the early 1900s as a way of commenting on the innovation of the era. A pseudo-Confucian version was fabricated in 1962 - perhaps explaining why Ms Trump believed it was a Chinese proverb.

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

They also offered some snarky commentary, including one person who said, "Don't mistake something as a Chinese proverb simply because it's written in Chinese characters".

"She must have read it in a fortune cookie from Panda Express", a Weibo user wrote.

On the internet, there are a number of other instances of the quote being described as a Chinese proverb. It seems in fact to be American from the turn of the 20th c. -which makes sense, since its spirit is can-do Americanism.

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