In this paper, a novel independent brain-computer interface (BCI) system based on covert non-spatial visual selective attention of two superimposed illusory surfaces is described. Perception of two superimposed surfaces was induced by two sets of dots with different colors rotating in opposite directions. The surfaces flickered at different frequencies and elicited distinguishable steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) over parietal and occipital areas of the brain. By selectively attending to one of the two surfaces, the SSVEP amplitude at the corresponding frequency was enhanced. An online BCI system utilizing the attentional modulation of SSVEP was implemented and a 3-day online training program with healthy subjects was carried out. The study was conducted with Chinese subjects at Tsinghua University, and German subjects at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) using identical stimulation software and equivalent technical setup. A general improvement of control accuracy with training was observed in 8 out of 18 subjects. An averaged online classification accuracy of 72.6 +/- 16.1% was achieved on the last training day. The system renders SSVEP-based BCI paradigms possible for paralyzed patients with substantial head or ocular motor impairments by employing covert attention shifts instead of changing gaze direction.