China took part in the Olympic games for the first time in London in 1948, four years before the other leading communist country, the USSR.The Chinese rank among the best in the world in gymnastics and swimming. The Chinese women's swimming team, trained by former East-German coaches, proved this during the 1992 Barcelona games. However, a wave of doping suspicion blew over their performances.China has used sport as a means to emerge from diplomatic isolation. Beijing was indeed in the running to host the 2000 games. Sydney was chosen, largely because of the human-rights issue in China. Beijing has presented its candidacy for the 2008 games. It's for this reason that the country has embarked on a major anti-doping campaign. Before the Sydney Games, 37 athletes were thrown out of the national squad after failing drugs tests. But that didn't prevent China finishing third in the unofficial league table of nations with 28 gold medals collected in sports such as badminton, diving, gymnastics, judo, shooting, table tennis and weightlifting. In each, China is nearing sporting excellence.