The barefoot, blind lawyer from China is apparently on a flight bound for the US, and there are huge sighs of relief in both the Foreign Ministry in Beijing and at the US Department of State.Although some breathless commentary describes the diplomacy around Chen’s flight to freedom as the worst diplomatic spat between the US and China in many years, that is a very poor description of what took place. This was actually a triumph of diplomacy: the two teams of diplomats did exactly what they should do — they kept what could have been a major political crisis from erupting as they crafted and kept a deal that was acceptable to both sides.To do that, they had to handle political problems inside the two countries as well as between them. Elements in China’s security forces — and the local authorities in Shandong — had their own agendas and in various ways took actions against Chen and/or his family that threatened to blow up the deal. And there were plenty of people in the US eagerly sniffing for signs of weakness in order to turn the Chen affair into a domestic political issue.But in the end, Chen got out and the disruption to US-Chinese relations was contained. There are some regrets on both sides; diplomacy by its nature produces compromises, and compromises never satisfy anyone. Chen is worried about the health and safety of his family members and friends in China as well he should be; we must hope that the Chinese authorities in Beijing understand the importance of keeping this issue quiet and so make sure that local authorities and hotheads don’t do anything ill-advised.But overall, this is a story of problem solved and crisis averted. The US China relationship is strong; our diplomats can work with one another; both sides are committed to making things work. That is the takeaway message from the events in Beijing, and it is very good news.