Due to the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the 外交部 (Foreign Affairs Office) is clamping down on Visas. Sometime in lat April/early May, the 外交部 stopped issuing 多次 (Multiple Entry) visas under any circumstances. See CNR.cn
Additionally, in retaliation for the fingerprinting of foreigners entering the United States, China has not issued *ANY* Visa-Upon-Arrival for any American since 2004. If you are from a country other than America, you many qualify for a Visa on Arrival at the ports of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xi’an, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou (Baiyun Airport), Shenzhen (Luohu, Shekou) and Zhuhai (Gongbei). See the detailed requirements.
Foreigners staying in China for an extended period must switch to a Z Type (Work) Visa. If visiting China for business purposes, your host must visit the 外交部 (Foreign Affairs Office) to secure a 邀请信 (Invitation Letter) on your behalf. Otherwise, you’re basically left with a Tourist Visa.
You can get Mainland China entry visas in Hong Kong, but visa processing requires 4 Business Days for the Standard Service. You can get the Visa more quickly, but the price is much higher. In agent called “CTS” in Hong Kong that can provide convenient Visa service.
If you are in Shanghai, the VisaInChina service is probably your best bet for Visa processing. They’ve even put together a great FAQ about the Olympic Visa Restrictions and what you should do… The current theory is that Visa madness will be rectified after the Olympics. Not sure if I would count on that though…