I worked there in 2017 for the British Council, assisting with the development of new legislation and infrastructure for enterprise development, and also on restructuring a big project the British Council was ‘floating off’.
The country was indeed created by colonialism. For my sins, I had to read the Burmese Companies Act, still in force but actually imposed during the colonial period, and largely copied out of the UK 1856 Companies Act - I was appalled by how out-of-date and inappropriately ‘British’ it was: colonialism shaded into fundamentally similar military rule and essentially froze the country’s legal/financial infrastructure in the Victorian world. Much the same was true in every area of life.
By 2017 (following the 2011-12 democratic reforms) young people were still only just coming to understand the detail and depth of oppression - and how it had to be changed. It was a time of great hope - I was reminded of Wordsworth’s reaction to the French Revolution - ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!’
It is, of course, the fact that they briefly tasted liberation that makes their struggle against the coup so determined now. But it is, as you say, largely up to them. China is only really interested in its own economic interests there (which are enormous), and without China the rest of the world is pretty helpless in terms of any significant action.