Why? Because socalled Rod From God (RfG) kinetic projectiles are expensive. They used to be strategically way more expensive to field than nukes, and outer space treaties forbids the use of orbital allocated nuclear weapons. Ballistic nukes are relatively close to target. To use a RfG you need to allocate a lot of them, in order to have strategic coverage over time. If you only have a few, fielding them against targets world wide will take a lot of time, and in a world war last thing you have is time.
So why is China fucked? Well, once a global power starts putting RfG’s in to orbit it takes literally hundreds to achieve dominance and that takes time. So when you start putting them in place you are literally saying to all your enemies guys, I am getting ready to kill you, give me a year and I’ll be totally ready to start a war of total annihilation without radioactive fallout, which pretty much means, in insane geopolitical parlance – I am getting ready to destroy all your military resources and invade, take over all your shit and make your people in to na slave race.
China isn’t stupid. They know this and they have known this for decades. they also realize now the US is starting to ramp up real cheap launch systems under SpaceX (look at this picture of a SpaceX rocket. Look at the flag on it. Look at how closely it resembles a V2)
As long as SpaceX is a private enterprise with all these grande private visions of colonizing mars, the US can maintain total plausible deniability that this isn’t in fact a deeply aggressive statement. Because it IS a deeply aggressive statement, much in the same way Germany in 1935 starting up factories mass-producing TNT “for peaceful civil engineering purposes” would be regarded as a declaration of war by France. Nonwithstanding your projections of being a peaceful beatnik, it is simly not credible.
There is no way China can match the quickly falling launch costs of SpaceE anytime soon. They know this. China knows that the US is at least half a decade ahead of China, despite all the rhetoric otherwise, to match these efforts. China thus knows that the US won’t need any stinking nuclear weapons to bring China to its knees.
Now take into account China’s attempts to consolidate the south China sea (which is simply a loud statement to the US/NATO – “make us stop doing this. I dare you, try and stop us“) or China’s threatening rhetoric towards Taiwan (“were are coming sooner rather than later“) and paranoid Khannea may decide that what’s happening in Hong Kong is a short term counterstatement from the US against these aggressions, whereas clearly the above implied threat from SpaceX is a long term statement.
What can China do?
Well expect them starting to invest a LOT more in space infrastructure very vert soon. A lot more, as in exponentially more.