Chinese dissident and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng on Capitol Hill. (Michael Reynolds/EPA)

House members offered a warm welcome to Chen Guangcheng, the celebrated blind Chinese human rights activist, to a Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Tuesday. They had plenty of kind words for their witness — and lots of metaphors.

Must have been their enthusiasm (and this spring air?) that made them turn poetic.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who chairs the panel, kicked things off. “It took a blind man to really see the injustice of a population-control program....,” he said. “It took a blind man — the great Chen Guangcheng — to open the eyes of a blind world to these human rights violations...”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) took up the mantle, invoking the lyrics to the hymn “Amazing Grace,” which was penned by an anti-slavery activist. “Which says, ‘I was blind but now I see,’” Meadows noted. “How fitting it is today to have someone who is blind, who is helping us see the atrocities that are happening even today in this global economy.”

And finally, Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.) took a turn. “Helen Keller once said that there’s none so blind as he who will not see,” he quoth.