I wonder if the Chinese and Belorussian Embassies in London are colluding?
The other day the Belorussians also rejected my visa application - because I did
not have a hotel booking. So I booked a hotel. Then they rejected it
again, asking for a signed letter from the hotel manager to confirm
the booking. Today I provided that letter - not only signed but also officially stamped! To no avail: now they want a letter from a travel company in Belarus accepting responsibility for me while I am in Belarus. A sense of deja-vu creeps over, not to mention utter tedium. At least they have provided a list of official travel agencies which I can ask for the letter, so in that respect marginally more helpful than the Chinese. One fewer hurdle to clear.
I'm not sure I can be bothered though, in which case it's back to plan A or C: ride via Kiev if Ukraine is not exploding; or take a lengthy northerly detour to Russia via Lithuania and Latvia.
Hopefully it will all get easier once I'm on the road... in three weeks and two days!