I recently took a trip to China, and they are real hard asses about immigration. Flying into the country was sort of normal, you filled out the little entry form, gave it along with your visa and passport to the inspector (who never smiled), they stamp it and on you go. In my case I took a second plane to another city in China (Shenyang). At Shenyang I collected my luggage and had to fill out a second form for what I was bringing in (nothing basically). The inspector took that and on I went, no big deal.

But LEAVING China was a pain in the ass!!!

First because I flew from Shenyang to Beijing, they made me collect my luggage from the Shenyang flight conveyer and haul it across the airport from the domestic terminal to the International terminal where my second flight departed. I asked them are you sure, it is the same Airline, won't they transfer my luggage for me? They insisted I had to do this, later I found out why. So at the International terminal I checked my luggage in again for the second time that day with the same Airline.

Next at the International departure area have to fill out one form for yourself, saying where you stayed, what you did, and where you were going. You waiting in a long line for a Red-star hatted inspector to read it over. This is kind of normal, a lot of countries make you do this to keep track of who leaves and go after those that don't, although the scrutiny level was high, I suppose they don't want Chinese leaving without authorization.

Then after that you had to fill out a SECOND form for what you were taking OUT of the country in your luggage!! Then stand in another long line for another Commie to check that out. This is why they made me haul my luggage across the airport, they wanted to know what I was taking out! What they heck are they so worried about, that maybe I am taking a piece of the Great Wall???

Trying to get OUT of the stupid country took so long I almost missed my second plane!

Getting through China immigration was bad enough, but wait, if you want to fly to Taiwan like I was, the Chinese won't let you fly direct, you have to transfer in Hong Kong! So the second "International" flight I took was to Hong Kong (which is actually a part of China!).

In Hong Kong I transferred to another Airline for my third flight to Taiwan but they were nice enough to transfer my luggage for me. However they did make me go out through immigration (filling out the little entry form), then I walked upstairs and went right back in through immigration to my outgoing flight! Kind of dumb and a waste of manpower if you ask me.

The flight to Taiwan on China Airlines (actually it is a Taiwan company) was great. They upgraded me to business class for free! In Taipei all I did was fill out the little entry form, they stamped my passport, I grabbed my luggage and that was it. As a US Citizen I didn't need a visa for Taiwan.

So overall in one day I took three flights and went through immigration four times!

I don't plan to ever go back to China, it pretty much sucks, Hong Kong is nice, and Taiwan was a blast. China Airlines (Taiwan based) is great, Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong based) is good, and Air China is horrible. Even the Chinese were bitching about Air China!