Fact Check

Did WEF Chair Klaus Schwab Admit To Planning 'Chinese-Style' Lockdowns for 'Next Pandemic'?

A single sentence from a February 2023 speech given by Klaus Schwab has been used as evidence for an ill-defined global conspiracy.

Published July 24, 2023

 (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Image courtesy of FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images
Klaus Schwab publicly admitted that he is planning to implement China-style forced COVID lockdowns all over the world during the “next pandemic.”

On July 22, 2023, a Twitter account belonging to an apparently rabid fan of both Elon Musk and globalist conspiracy theories, asserted that Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), had "just publicly admitted" that he is planning to implement China-style forced COVID lockdowns all over the world during the "next pandemic." 

Based on such a far-reaching claim, one would expect the video shown to support it contained, at the very least, a reference to a pandemic, China, or lockdowns. Given that it "just" happened, one might expect that video to have been shot recently. These assumptions would be a mistake. The video Wallace links to includes exactly one sentence from Schwab that includes none of those words:

And the last factor I want to mention is resilience. The capability to bounce back, because there will be certainly what we call the black swans, the unpleasant surprises, which will come in our way.

Based on this statement, which stems from a February 2023 speech at the World Government Summit in Abu Dhabi, Wallace asserts:

You heard it right there. Black swan coming. Klaus saying it himself to an audience of people eating up his every word. [...] At the same time as he's now pushing these crazy ideologies, he's simultaneously trying to implement China style policies all over the world for these black swan events that he knows are coming. In part because he's playing a role in them.

The speech in question comprised Schwab's opening remarks for the 2023 World Government Summit, of which the WEF is a sponsor. The WEF is an international NGO that, it says, "engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas." The prominence of its members and the wealth of the companies it works with have made it the source of myriad conspiracy theories. 

Schwab's speech, "The State of the World," concerned the role of government in a rapidly changing and fragmenting world. "The world at the moment faces many of so's transformational processes, systemic processes, structural changes, " he began. "I just want to mention three."

The third major change Schwab mentioned was a "fourth industrial revolution" of new technologies. Shwab outlined four factors for governmental leaders to consider when assessing the power of a world with rapid technological advancement. 

The final factor on that topic, which led to the quote in question, was "resilience" — Schwab argued that new technology could allow the world to become more resilient by technology, which can allow the world to bounce back from rare but catastrophic events including pandemics and other disasters. Such events are often referred to as "black swan" events due to their rarity. 

The claim that this speech constitutes some sort of admission of a globalist takeover requires fluency in World Economic Forum conspiracy theory talk. The assertions are consistent with the so-called "Great Reset" brand of conspiracy theories. Named after a 2020 WEF initiative, these theories posit that the Covid-19 pandemic was created by global elites as a pretext to install a socialist one-world government, as explained by the BBC:

Among the most popular posts [about the WEF] are baseless statements that the Great Reset is a strategic part of a grand conspiracy by the global elite, who somehow planned and managed the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this narrative, lockdown restrictions were introduced not to curb the spread of the virus, but to deliberately bring about economic collapse and a socialist world government, albeit run for the benefit of powerful capitalists.

The nebulousness of this conspiracy theory means it has found followers among anti-vaccine activists, anti-lockdown campaigners, new-age healers, and those on the far right and far left.

Because the evidence linked to by Wallace and others in support of the claim that Schwab admitted to planning future lockdowns to gain power and control is a video that does not support this central assertion, the claim is False. 


Klaus Schwab Announces His New Evil Plan ⚠️. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTkMAbgxJ3U. Accessed 24 July 2023.

"Our Mission." World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/about/world-economic-forum/. Accessed 24 July 2023.

"The Great Reset." World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/focus/the-great-reset/. Accessed 24 July 2023.

The State of the World. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDybeNbFJXE. Accessed 24 July 2023.

"What Is the Great Reset - and How Did It Get Hijacked by Conspiracy Theories?" BBC News, 23 June 2021. www.bbc.com, https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-57532368.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.