Gonzalez, who was the runner-up at the Australian Open early this year, was pushed by Alexander Peya before heading into the second round with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win to open the hard-court tournament.
Also in the first-round Monday, Kevin Kim stopped Xin Yuan Yu 6-3, 7-5; Bjorn Phau saved a match point before collecting a 5-7, 7-6 (11-9), 6-2 win over Davide Sanguinetti; and Paul Capdeville was a 6-2, 6-2 winner over Danai Udomchoke.
Marcos Baghdatis is the China Open defending champion. He opens his defense against Shao Xuan Zeng on Tuesday.
World No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who lost in the semifinals of the U.S. Open last week, if the top seed for the China Open.