Just dropping in to say that I received a five year residence permit yesterday.
I've been on one year residence permits as owner/manager of my own small firm for many years now.
The entire application was done in-province. The only difference from a normal one year permit was that I had to do a new health check, and I had to get a local criminal record check covering my time in China.
That's another route worth considering. Simpler and quicker than the permanent residence permit, and most who qualify for that should be able to qualify for this one.
I take that back. Changshui Airport is saying to come four hours ahead. When people were first saying that a week ago, it was actually being refuted by multiple official accounts. Looks like it's policy now.
@pideh390: That's not so clear cut. In the announcement of the extended break, there's just one line saying "employers must ensure the legal rights of their employees." It doesn't actually state what those rights are. I believe it is mainly to remind employers that they'll still be held to labor laws regarding arbitrary termination or being forced to work during weekends or holidays (each of which has different pay requirements).