China had a tricky run-up to the 2008 FIVB World League before the Olympics as they had not played as many competitive matches as most of the others.
The Chinese were not involved in the 2007 World Cup or any World Olympic Qualification Tournaments.
The last global competition they had taken part in was the 2007 World League. They finished in ninth place, winning four and losing eight. There was an impressive showing by team captain Shen Qiong, who finished in the top 10 best scorers of the Untercontinental Round together with Yingchao Fang.
In order to prepare for the Beijing Games, China made some adjustments to the playing staff in March 2008, although the team officials stayed the same as 2007: Coach Jianan Zhou, the Chinese team captain in 1990s, Assistant Coach Xie Guochen, Trainer Fu Jun and Team Manager Zhang Luo.
After analyzing the team's performance in last year's FIVB and Asian Volleyball Confederation competitions, Zhou has been confident he has pinpointed the problems of the team's tactics and technique and the skills of the players that should be improved.
China's record on the Olympic stage is a lone eighth-placed finish at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and they have been overshadowed to a fair extent over the years by their supremely successful female compatriots.
Away from the Summer Games, it has been a mixed bag of results for the Chinese in recent years. In the FIVB World Championship, they were the model of consistency from 1994 to 2002, finishing 13th three times running before dropping to a 17th-placed finish in 2006.
In the FIVB World Cup, they twice finished fifth in 1977 and 1981 and after an 18-year gap came back to place 11th in 1999 and then 10th in 2003.
China have fared better in the Asian Games. They won the competition in 1990, placed second in '94, won in '98, finished third in 2002 and second in '06.
In the Asian Championship, they placed third in '91, fourth in '93 and second in '95, before winning the title in '97 and retaining it in '99. They then finished third in 2001, second in '03, second in '05 and fourth in '07.