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This research letter presents preliminary results of mapping rice crop growth using ENVISAT advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) alternating polarization HH/HV data. Four ASAR HH/HV images were collected in the early rice-growth cycle in the test site in 2006, and the temporal response of ASAR data to the rice field was analyzed. The height and biomass of rice were measured during acquisition of ASAR data, and empirical relationships were established between the backscattering coefficient and these two parameters. Based on the temporal variation of the radar response, a method for mapping a rice growth area was developed using the combination of ASAR HH and HV polarization data between two acquisition dates. The results confirm that C-band SAR data have great potential in the development of an operational system for monitoring rice crop growth in Southern China.