From China Digital Space
干爹 (gān diē): godfather
In Chinese, the word godfather is equivalent to the English “sugar daddy.” While the term had not been in wide usage, it became an internet catchphrase after aspiring actress and model Zhou Rui posted the following on her microblog:
“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 meetings to host a birthday party for me.”
The “two meetings” refer to the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The post was accompanied by the following picture:
Zhou Rui had previously achieved some 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. A 2012 short film called “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.
China Forbidden News also ran a piece on this phenomenon.