A lawyer says a trial against three Chinese activists has been aborted after the defense demanded that no member of the ruling Communist Party should be on the bench to hear charges against the defendants of inciting to subvert state power.

Lawyer Zhang Xuezhong said Friday that his client and lead defendant, Tang Jingling, also demanded that witnesses be called to the court, and when that was rejected Tang then dismissed his defense lawyers to prevent the trial from proceeding.

Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court in the southern city of Guangzhou on Friday declined to confirm whether the trial was held.

Zhang says co-defendants Yuan Xinting and Wang Qingying followed suit by dismissing their lawyers.

Tang is known for his advocacy for non-violent resistance to China's authoritarian rule.