Would the visa free rule apply when transiting China via multiple Chinese cities/airports (not just a single airport)? In this case it would be UK -> Beijing Capital (PEK) -> Dalian (DLC) -> Japan. With the purpose of staying in Beijing overnight to do sightseeing but the whole duration time of being in China will not exceed approximately 23 hours (unless planes get delayed). This will be the same itinerary on the return part when going back.
Both travellers are EU citizens (I believe we qualify for 24, 72 and 144 hour transit visa-free policies). If more specificity is beneficial, let's say we are British citizens (but I assume this applies to most if not all EU nationalities).
So, the itinerary with transiting via China seems 100% possible when Beijing is the only transit point but I got very confused as to what happens when I'm transiting via 2 Chinese cities/airports.
For example, TravelChinaGuide claims
Generally speaking, the 24-hour visa-free transit allows aliens to have multiple stops in China as long as they leave the country within 24 hours, therefore the route USA - Beijing - Shanghai - South Korea also counts as eligible.
for the 24 hour TWOV but it seems that's also the case for 144 hours as well. I'm not sure when they say "stop" they simply mean staying within the boundary of the airport or also being able to leave it to enter the city, but I would assume any multiple stop itinerary within the same country would imply having to go through the immigration control at the first airport as the following flight would probably be domestic (and having went through immigration probably allows the passenger to leave the airport to enjoy the city).
However, for example, Telegraph is saying in their recent article that
For instance, travellers could start in London, fly to Xi’an for a six-day trip, then continue to Tokyo. But multiple hops between ports aren’t allowed – you couldn’t go from Xi’an to Beijing, for example.
Therefore, it seems that some places are saying it's possible and others are saying it is not. Unless, both Telegraph and TravelChinaGuide are right in their statements and I'm just not reading it correctly.