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Getting a Chinese visa in Asia for US Citizen?

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I'm a US citizen and traveling in Malaysia now and then Singapore tomorrow, so I can't apply for a Chinese tourist visa in the US. I heard that one way I can get a Chinese tourist visa is to fly to Hong Kong and apply for one there at the Consular Department Office or through a travel agency.

Am I better off just using a travel agency in Singapore?

I also want to be able to get a visa allowing me to stay for 2-3 months. I've called some travel agencies in Singapore and HK and was told I can only stay in China for 1 month. Is it possible to extend the visa while in China? How much extra will it cost?

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