President Jiang Zemin has urged the country's top artists and writers to combat the growing threat of money worship and 'corrupt' foreign thinking. In a hard-hitting speech to 3,000 of China's literary elite, Mr Jiang urged them to boost the spirit of the nation by producing art and literary works with a strong national identity, patriotism and collectivism. 'Through globalisation, we are not only facing international competition in defence, science and the economy. Developing countries are also facing severe challenges in their cultural development,' the party chief said at yesterday's joint opening session of the Seventh National Congress of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Sixth National Congress of the Chinese Writers' Association. 'It is impossible for literature and the arts to be separated from politics, especially when facing the pressure of the dominant position of Western countries and dealing with the infiltration of Western ideology,' he said. Mr Jiang said the fate of the country depended on whether China's culture would develop over time and overcome the 'infiltration of corrupt thinking of foreign culture' at the same time as embracing Western progressive elements. He called on the artists and writers to join in his ideological campaign of the Theory of the Three Representatives which requires party cadres and government officials to serve the nation to advance production forces; embrace advanced culture; and to keep the people's interests at the forefront of their work. 'Constructing advanced culture will contribute to developing the country's advanced production forces,' he said. Mr Jiang urged party cells to improve their supervision of the arts. 'An effort must be made to help writers and artists study Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong thought, and Deng Xiaoping's theory.' Use Marxism, he said, to combat the growing threat of Western political thought, individualism, money worship, superstition and hedonism. By raising moral standards and advancing science, the country could move in the right direction in terms of developing the economy, Xinhua reported Mr Jiang as saying. He criticised some of the writers and artists for isolating themselves from the masses. 'Artworks and literary pieces that stay away from the masses are pretentious works,' he said, adding that the country's artists must learn from ordinary people and reflect their interests. Beijing academics said Mr Jiang was anxious to impose his stamp on intellectuals, many of whom had used Western-style theories to undermine 'absolute obedience' to the party.