US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has left Beijing after a week overshadowed by the fate of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.
Strategic and economic talks took a back seat to the situation surrounding the blind rights activist who remains in hospital.
He is being treated for injuries suffered as he escaped from 19 months house arrest to seek refuge in the US embassy.
He has now been offered a fellowship to New York University and Beijing says it will consider an application for him and his family to leave.
The diplomatic crisis has dominated headlines and rights groups are divided as to whether Beijing will drag its feet to avoid encouraging other dissidents or seek to get Chen out of the country as quickly as possible.
Beijing and Washington have managed to defuse their diplomatic standoff for now. But the press camped outside the hospital where Chen is being treated are proof the saga is not over yet.