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techkenyot.com June 25, 2018


Ivanka Trump tweets 'Chinese' proverb, confusing China

13 June 2018, 10:27 | Elsie Buchanan

Ivanka Trump tweets 'Chinese' proverb, confusing China

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Some Weibo users suggested she might have mixed up the translation of the proverb, "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game", according to the New York Times.

Her tweet came on the eve of the day when her father, Donald Trump, met the North Korean leader at Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Island to hold talks, in a bid to resolve the decades-long nuclear stand-off between the two countries.

The news channel for Sina, the company behind China's largest Twitter-like platform Weibo, wrote on their account: 'Our editor really can't think of exactly which proverb this is. Others pointed to more informal phrases that are popular in China, such as "If you can do it, do it; if you can't, shut up".

As first daughter and a senior adviser to her father, Ivanka has frequently emphasised her connection to China and Chinese culture.

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

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Maybe she just saw it on a fortune cookie?

It's not the first time Ivanka has mistakenly attributed a saying to Chinese lore. But experts said the saying was not Chinese.

Ivanka Trump's family has a lot of fans in China.

But digital sleuths in the USA and China said there is no evidence such a pearl of wisdom originated in China.

Another said: "It makes sense, but I still don't know which proverb it is".

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"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.

The internet is awash in misattributed phrases and it can be hard to discern which phrases have a true connection to China's 5000-year-old culture.

"Three minutes of googling suggests this is a fake Chinese Proverb". Actually, the saying has been occasionally ascribed to the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, though there's no evidence of him ever having used it.

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.

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