Ivanka's 'Chinese proverb' praise for Trump-Kim summit confuses China

Ivanka Trump attends the first lady's announcement of her “Be Best” children’s initiative at the White House on May 7

Ahead of her father's historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump has tweeted out an important piece of wisdom from an ancient Chinese sage: "Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it".

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

Actual Chinese netizens debated the possible Chinese source, if any, of Trump's tweet.

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

Upon further investigation, however, this quote doesn't actually appear to be a Chinese proverb at all.

"'Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it.' - Chinese Proverb", the first daughter wrote in a tweet that quickly went viral for apparently being fake.

On Tuesday, after Trump and Kim met at the hotel in Singapore and shook hands before sitting down for a one-on-one meeting, Ivanka tweeted a simple collage of the iconic handshake between the two leaders.

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"Did you get that from a fortune cookie?" another netizen asked.

It's not the first time she has incorrectly described a quotation as Chinese.

One user wrote: "It makes sense, but I still don't know which proverb it is".

"It sounds more legitimate and credible to pronounce a quote coming from the ancient civilization of China", said Herzberg, who with his wife, Xue Qin, has written a book on Chinese proverbs. In 2013, she tweeted: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life", a quote she attributed to Confucius.

One website suggested it originated in the United States itself at the turn of the 20th century.

The blog Quote Investigator has found that the saying first emerged in a 1903 Chicago magazine in reference to innovation during that time.

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

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