The double Formula One world champion fractured his ribs in a spectacular crash at the season-opening race in Australia almost four weeks ago. The Spaniard's car slammed into the track wall at 200 mph before barrel-rolling twice.
Alonso was declared unfit to race
in this month's Bahrain Grand Prix by the sport's doctors.
"I hope I'll be back in the cockpit but until I get the all-clear from the doctors to race -- whenever that may be -- we cannot assume anything," Alonso said ahead of Sunday's Shanghai race. "I'm continuing to prepare for the race weekend as normal."
Alonso is due to be assessed by the FIA
's medical team on Thursday. The 34-year-old has been honing his fitness in the gym in the buildup to China and posted photos of himself playing golf on social media, as well as a positive message spelled out in emojis.
"Fernando has been recuperating at home and training as usual," McLaren sporting director Eric Boullier said. "We, like him, hope to see him back in the car."
Stoffel Vandoorne made an impressive F1 debut as Alonso's understudy in Bahrain. The highly-rated Belgian finished 10th, collecting a point in his first race.
"Stoffel did a fantastic job to score the team's first championship point of the year," Boullier said. "He will be on standby once again."
Mercedes' leading duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will resume their rivalry in China.
World champion Hamilton has won the last two races in Shanghai but Rosberg is on a roll this season, winning the first two races to add to his three consecutive wins at the end of 2015. The German is 17 points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers' championship.
There was welcome news for the entire F1 pack as the sport's governing body, the FIA, confirmed it has dropped the controversial against-the-clock knockout qualifying
system, which was introduced this year. Grid places in Shanghai will be decided in Saturday's qualifying by the familiar system used in 2015.