By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 4:26PM GMT 23 Feb 2009
Mrs Clinton not only made little public mention of the issue, but also showed no sign of having pressed China over another major bone of contention with America - claims that Beijing manipulates its currency to give itself an unfair trade advantage.
Praise for the change of tack in state newspapers after she returned home on Sunday was enthusiastic. "Clinton's visit delivered what is needed desperately - a sense of certainty in the diplomatic vacuum between two presidencies," said China Daily, the official English-language voice of the Communist Party.
It referred to the improved relationship in the later years of the administration of President George W Bush. Many in China feared that relationship would change with President Barack Obama, who was critical of Chinese trade policies during his election campaign, and with Mrs Clinton, who has previously criticised Beijing strongly over human rights.
Mrs Clinton, who also visited Japan, Indonesia and South Korea on her tour of the Far East, said that she would continue to raise human rights issues but that they would not be allowed to interfere with discussions on economics, climate change and security.
On Sunday she met women's rights activists at the American embassy in Beijing, including some who had come into conflict with the regime. One was Gao Yaojie, an 82-year-old doctor who was repeatedly harassed and put under house arrest after revealing the extent of Hiv-Aids infection in central China.
But a sufficient number of the "activists" were from government-backed organisations for the meeting to receive a favourable write up in state media.
Even Global Times, an offshoot of People's Daily notable for its anti-Americanism, was approving of Mrs Clinton.
"In the future, the United States will sooner or later raise the issue of human rights in China, but it might not be too extreme," it said, quoting a government academic.
"This type of realistic attitude could be followed by other Western leaders."