Public health officials have decided not to interfere with Chinese hospitals performing so-called mercy killings on terminally ill patients, despite the lack of a formal policy on euthanasia, a government newspaper said Wednesday.

The state-run China Daily said the decision by the Ministry of Public Health will allow Chinese suffering from incurable illnesses to "seek a peaceful death by medical means.""Euthanasia can end the pain for incurable patients and also can be a great relief to their relatives, both mentally and physically," a ministry official was quoted as saying.