Reigning world champion Qiu Bo and Chinese teammate Lin Yue were first and second Friday night after preliminary dives in the men's 10-meter platform.
Qiu scored 563.70 points on his six dives at the Aquatics Centre, 31.55 more than Lin.
They will try to extend China's dominance over diving at the London Olympics. The country has won six of the seven diving events here after going 7-for-8 in Beijing four years ago.
The diver who prevented a Chinese sweep in 2008, Australian Matthew Mitcham, is the reigning champion in the platform. He finished ninth in the prelims.
German Sascha Klein and Martin Wolfram were third and fourth behind Qiu and Lin while Americans Nicholas McCrory and David Boudia also qualified for the semifinals.
Only the top 18 divers out of 32 made it through. McCrory was eighth and Boudia got the 18th spot by 4.2 points. Canada's Riley McCormick qualified 11th but teammate Eric Sehn was eliminated in 29th.
Great Britain's Tom Daley moved on in the 15th spot. Daley and partner Peter Waterfield finished fourth in the synchronized platform event here -- an outcome that drew headlines for what happened afterward when police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting Daley that he let his deceased father down. Daley's father died of brain cancer last year.
The semifinal and final are both Saturday.