Word of the Week: Godfather

干爹

Zhou Rui and her godfather. (Weibo)

干爹 (gāndiē): godfather

Sugar daddy. “Godfather” became an Internet catchphrase after aspiring actress and model Zhou Rui posted on her Weibo, “I’m grateful that I always have you in my life. I’m grateful, Godfather, that you took time out of your busy schedule during the Two Sessions to host a birthday party for me” (谢谢我的生活一直有你陪伴,谢谢干爹在两会期间百忙中抽出时间为我们举办生日宴).

Zhou had previously achieved a degree of Internet celebrity by complaining about those who criticized her “ass-high miniskirts” (齐B小短裙).

The trend of rich, powerful men becoming “godfathers” to beautiful young women has garnered increasing public attention in recent years. The 2012 short film Godfather, about a woman whose real father visits her in Beijing and discovers she has a sugar daddy, generated controversy when it was released online.

Dependence on connections has become an increasingly pervasive part of modern Chinese culture. While children of the rich and powerful “compare fathers”, it is also said that some women “compare godfathers,” relying on these connections to obtain money, professional opportunities, and preferential treatment.

grass-mud horseThe  comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around  and political correctness.