As Richard Jackson argued, ‘if terrorism refers to violence directed towards or threatened against civilians which is designed to instil terror or intimidate a population for political reasons […] then states can clearly be terrorists too’ (2008, 383). In this paper, I explore experiences of (in)security in Uyghur communities in- and outside of Xinjiang / the Uyghur region in the era of mass internment to consider whether PRC counter-terrorism initiatives have evolved into state terror. In doing so, I apply Ruth Blakeley's (2012) definition of state terror. I find that the Chinese state has committed numerous deliberate acts of disproportionate violence in response to peaceful and violent Uyghur dissent, both before and since China’s adoption of the GWoT logic. In that context, securitization and militarization in Xinjiang post-2009 serves as a warning to local communities that dissent will not be tolerated and will be met with similarly disproportionate force as protest events in 1990, 1997 and 2009. I further find that the CCP central leadership is fully cognisant of the programme, scale and effects of securitization and mass internment, even if regional officials disagree about the lengths to which the programme should be taken, and some state agents recruited to evaluate Uyghur households for internment do so only under duress. Finally, I bring observational and interview evidence to illustrate the fear and terror achieved by the state’s programme of ‘disappearances’, and ways in which Uyghurs have changed their behaviour (self-censored) under threat of personal or family internment.