As to the foreign expert's certificate, the school did organize one for me (I presume this is a requirement for a teacher to get a working visa), but I was never shown or given it.
The horrible woman actually gave me a letter confirming that I had a foreign expert's certificate, and it was cancelled, but it was not adequate for customs. They wanted a copy of the original expert's certificate.
Thanks for everyone's suggestions. Like I alluded to in my earlier post, the problem can be avoided if you choose a port with laxer requirements. I was originally planning to ship out of a northern port, as I have some belongings there at a friend's place, but will get my belongings trucked to kunming, and then go via guangzhou which is no problem.