The fun is over. As of April of this year, China began strictly enforcing its visa rules. Prior to that the visa rules have been fairly relaxed to the point that some foreigners had taken up residence and even started businesses by extending their visas.
If you are planning on going to China anytime soon you will need to be conscious of the new rules and standards and plan accordingly. If you're planning on going to China for business there will be a little more than a small inconvenience, for others it may be more serious.
Remember that need at least 10 working days to get your visa so plan accordingly. It may be wise to contact a larger law firm and ask them which visa service they use. You will pay a fee, but they know what is required and you will avoid having to go to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.
If there is a possibility that you may need a continuous presence in China this summer you may want to consider getting a Z visa or finding an agent to act for you.
There are four main types of visas: