Having only won one gold in Winter Paralympic history, China has now won eight at Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

China's unprecedented Winter Paralympic success shows no sign of letting up, with American biathlon women's sprint sitting gold medallist Oksana Masters among those who referenced the "very surprising" nature of the host nation's achievements.

Prior to Beijing 2022, China had only ever won one medal at the Winter Paralympics - gold in the wheelchair curling at Pyeongchang 2018.

However, the Chinese have enjoyed a flurry of gold medals at the Games this year, beginning with Para biathletes Guo Yujie and Liu Zixu on the first day of competition on Saturday (March 5).

China have since added two further victories in Para Alpine skiing, two in cross-country skiing, one in snowboard cross and another in Para biathlon to take its tally up to eight.

On top of that, the home delegation have eight silver and 10 bronze medals to their name.

Host nations at Olympic and Paralympic Games do tend to fare well.

At the Winter Paralympics, five of the seven hosts since Lillehammer 1994 have finished in the top four of the medals table.

Four hosts of the Games have topped the standings, most recently Russia at Sochi 2014.

Pyeongchang 2018 proved a rare exception, with South Korea claiming only one gold and two bronzes.

However, China's meteoric rise has not gone unnoticed.

Masters had to settle for silver in the Para cross-country skiing women's long distance sitting on Sunday (March 6), losing out to home favourite Yang Hongqiong.

With China largely absent from international competitions, including January's World Para Snow Sports Championships, in the build-up to the Games, Masters recognised that the host nation's athletes represent something of an unknown quantity for many of the competitors at Beijing 2022.

Oksana Masters noted
Oksana Masters noted "you never see them [Chinese athletes] until the Games", after their absence from international competitions including the World Para Snow Sports Championships ©Getty Images

"No, that's the thing about China, that they're very surprising every time," Masters said when discussing her knowledge of Yang from before the Games.

"You never see them until the Games.

"But they're very strong and they perform and know how to perform in the right races.

"They are great competitors."

Li Panpan also took bronze for China in the women's long distance sitting event, and Masters believes the hosts' athletes performances "will elevate the sport in China for the future".

A frequently repeated claim by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) throughout Beijing 2022 has been that the Games have helped to engage more than 300 million people in China in winter sports, a goal which was set by the Chinese Government as part of the successful bid in 2015.

Yang insisted that her gold proved that "China has unlimited potential for winter sports".

At today's press conference at the Main Media Centre in Beijing, IPC spokesperson Craig Spence credited China's success with its vastly increased team at Beijing 2022 and its talent pool.

"When China puts its mind to something it certainly delivers and that's shown in the results here," Spence suggested.

"In Pyeongchang, the Chinese team was 26 athletes, here it's 96, so it's 70 more athletes and that's why they are doing so well on the medal table.

"They've also got a huge talent pool to choose from. 

"I think it's between 83 or 85 million persons with disabilities in this country so that's an enormous talent pool to choose from and find the athletes."

Cross-country skiing women's long-distance sitting gold medallist Yang Hongqiong insisted
Cross-country skiing women's long-distance sitting gold medallist Yang Hongqiong insisted "China has unlimited potential for winter sports" ©Getty Images

Beijing 2022 vice-president Yang Shuan claimed that the results were a vindication of China's Para sport programme.

"I believe you have seen the development of China's winter sports programmes for the disabled, which has been rapidly improved through the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games," Yang said.

"In past Winter Paralympic Games, China's disabled sports delegation participated in very few events, so this year we participated in all events.

"We provide for athletes with disabilities, including a wide range of disabled people. 

"They have a kind of self-improvement and a strong desire to participate in society, which is probably the main reason for the success."

China completed a podium sweep in the men's snowboard cross SB-UL, with gold medallist Ji Lijia commenting "our goal is to bring glory to our home country", and silver medallist Wang Pengyao similarly dedicating the achievement to "our home country".

Several commentators have speculated that an effective wax set-up could be aiding China's success.

Para biathlon men's middle distance sitting champion was also asked about China's success, and reflected: "China had never been strong in winter sports.

"The best result we had in cross-country at Pyeongchang 2018 was Zheng Peng’s fourth place.

"We’ve been longing to break that record for him.

"Now as you can see, our hard work paid off."

The Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics are set to conclude on Sunday (March 13).