Oliver Actis Hallqvist was born in Finland to a family of Swedish diplomats, but chose to follow a career path in music instead of politics. In his youth, he moved around a lot, living in Tokyo, New York and Helsinki, where he attended international schools with American educational curricula. At the age of 12, he moved to Stockholm, Sweden.
Oliver’s nomadic early life made him feel like he had no distinct nationality or identity. He also had trouble identifying with his classmates and often felt alienated, preferring to be on his own. He would skip school to read comics, play guitar and listen to records. Shortly after he entered the ninth grade, he dropped out of high school, determined to spend his teenage years playing with his band, Renegade Generals.
When Oliver turned 18, his parents moved to the Ukraine where they were stationed at the Swedish embassy. He stayed behind in Stockholm, living in his band’s rehearsal space. At this time he began to be plagued by anxiety and a mysterious feeling of being invaded by invisible hands or energy. Crippled by these strange sensations and an emotional isolation that ensued, Oliver retreated further into himself, telling no one about his experiences.
At the Threshold
After months of enduring the phantom energy and increasingly withdrawing from the world, Oliver hoped a change of surroundings might help. He moved to Lund, where his grandmother, aunt and cousin lived.
There he continued playing music in the local scene with the band, Poetized, while working odd jobs and collecting welfare.
But the change in venue did not help. The mysterious feelings persisted. His anxieties elevated. Fearing he would lose his mind, Oliver finally sought help from a psychiatrist.
The doctor's initial diagnosis indicated the symptoms were either related to sexual violations or stemmed from the beginning stages of a psychotic illness. The doctor quickly recommended psychological testing. Oliver agreed, but often failed to attend the scheduled appointments. Instead, he began to find solace in Eastern philosophy, meditation and martial arts after being inspired by Bruce Lee’s “Tao of Jeet Kune Do.” During his meditations, Oliver began to again experience the invading energy, but it was more intense than before. He began researching the meditative sensations, leaving therapy and immersing himself in spiritual and philosophical study.
Oliver moved to Malmo, a neighbouring city to Lund, where he found Falun Gong, a Chinese meditation that emphasized morality and the cultivation of virtue.
He learned of meridians and energy centers inside the body, including one called the “hui yin” located inside the perineum (also known as the ”root chakra” in other disciplines).
Oliver had suddenly found an explanation for the sensations he was experiencing. He believed he had unknowingly connected to the hui yin center, and his ignorance of its energies was causing his state of despair. The revelation calmed Oliver greatly, helping him to let go of his anxieties.
Oliver's discovery empowered him, bringing comfort and clarity. But shortly after he adopted Falun Gong, violence against its practitioners suddenly erupted in China.
Falun Gong initially enjoyed considerable support from the Chinese government, but by the late 1990s, the Chinese Communist Party increasingly viewed the practice as a potential threat due to its size, spirituality, and independence from the state.
Oliver learned that hundreds of thousands of other Falun Gong practitioners in China were being imprisoned extrajudicially, and were subjected to forced labor, psychiatric abuse, torture and live organ harvesting at the hands of Chinese authorities.
Deeply affected by the situation in China, Oliver initially felt powerless to help. But invigorated by his newfound spiritual connection to Falun Gong, he decided to do what he could to raise awareness in the west. He handed out flyers and talked to people one-on-one about the atrocities. But that effort only seemed to touch a handful of people. Oliver felt he could reach a wider audience through music. Inspired by comic book superheroes and Far-Eastern culture, he spent years honing his musicianship and perfecting a new persona that could reach more people at once.
When he was ready, Oliver brought his vision to life through an explosive street show. He picked up his guitar and put on a mask adorned with the rising sun, playing for unsuspecting pedestrians and the like. He adopted the gold dragon as a symbol of divine culture, and took the name Diplomatic to reflect his past, and to guide his mindset toward helping to end the persecution of Falun Gong.